Maybe Al Horford's dominance (he made 8 of 10 shots) or the fact that three Celtics scored more than 20 points (Brown, 23; Marcus Morris, 21; Horford, 20) should be of equal concern. James had to revert on jump shots for much of the game, barring a couple of layups he completed primarily via cuts to the basket. If he keeps up his two-way punch, the Celtics would be well on their way to gaining a 2-0 series lead and putting the pressure on the Cavs. "He was my matchup and I think they did a great job of communicating throughout the whole game, knowing where I was and all of my teammates was".
James finished with 15 points on five-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds and nine assists. Morris, however, is one of the few players in the league who actually matches up reasonably well against him, and being backed by arguably the best defense in the National Basketball Association makes it that little bit easier to do again. The Celtics blew out the Cavaliers in game 1, 108-83, to take a 1-0 series lead.
Put Kevin Love's name atop the list of the Cavaliers that walked out of Cleveland's 25-point Eastern Conference finals Game 1 loss to Boston a little staggered, but with an unbowed head. Morris was inserted into the starting lineup and drew the defensive assignment on LeBron to begin the game.
In game one, it looked like he saved the very best of this season for this series, and if he can keep this up it will be the kind of unexpected edge that could be a determining factor in this series, and at least make sure the Celtics push it as far as possible. "The good thing about our group is we've had a bunch of starting lineups this year".
For a repeat of Game 2 against IN, the Cavs are going to need more than what they got from James' supporting cast IN that game: 5-of-16 shooting from Love, five points from JR Smith, 16 points from their bench and a DNP-CD from Tristan Thompson.
At the post-game press conference, Marcus Morris was asked what motivated him tremendously to defend James who came up with only 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
But the Wine and Gold are still in Boston, hoping to pull off a win during Game 2 tonight against the Celtics.
But there has been only one time when James' team has lost a Game 1 by a wider margin than Sunday's 25 points: the 2006 second round at Detroit, when the Cavs were dismantled 113-86.
The C's certainly made it hard on James and his supporting cast during Game 1, but that frankly means nothing to Boston's players and coaching staff heading into Game 2. The payoff didn't end there though, because even when Boston missed shots, frequently the Cavs attack wasn't able to get going immediately, because they found themselves needing to regroup instead of getting out on the fast break due to the nature of the Boston offense. Not bad, but not James-like, especially when you throw in his seven turnovers.
Stevens knows James is not going to be the same player they saw in Game 1.
Equally impressed was Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green, who has faced off against James three times in the last three years in the NBA Finals. In Game 1, Kevin Love was the leading scorer with 17 points, but he was just 1-of-4 from three.