It's the continuation of the Eastern Conference Finals as the series shifts to the shores of Lake Erie.
The Celtics are 9-0 in the playoffs at TD Garden. With the exception of Irving, the team's second-leading scorer that year, their lineup in the Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics is the same. Kyle Korver had a couple good looks rim out, while LeBron-who finished 5-of-11 from beyond the arc-hit only one of his last four attempts. The King dropped 21 points in the first quarter, including four three point jumpers. With the series switching venues to the Quicken Loans Arena, Boston has a chance to put their foot firmly on the throats of the Cavaliers here.
By the time Baynes entered the game with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter, LeBron already had eight points but he was just getting started.
But their lead disappeared in the second half.
James was hitting a lot of hard shots, so the Celtics embraced that as much as possible, and waited for James to eventually come back to earth.
That, ultimately, opened the way for the Celtics to come back and win, 107-94, a game Cleveland controlled for the first half and the first two minutes of the third quarter.
And if you REALLY want to get technical, the Cavs' three-team deal with Utah also gave the Jazz the option of swapping 2024 second-round picks with Cleveland. Outside of LeBron James and Kevin Love, the supporting cast has been nothing but abysmal.
As the referees reviewed the play, Boston fans chanted profanely at Smith, who smirked and later said the taunts didn't bother him.
It was Smart who confronted Cleveland's J.R. Smith for what Smart believed was a risky push of a defenseless Al Horford late in the fourth quarter. Cleveland still has the ultimate trump card in James, and-as you'll hear a thousand times before Saturday-a playoff series doesn't start until a home team loses. The only question left is, say it with me, are you in? LeBron and Love can't do it by themselves. Now, the Cavaliers are in the Eastern Conference finals, it's not like they lost in the first round. Love has bounced back from his slow start to play well but when three guys account for almost 80 percent of the scoring in a game, you're going to be in trouble.
The Celtics, who overcame a double-digit deficit, have never blown a 2-0 lead in the post-season.
A lot of people have been learning a lot from the Celtics all season - from the way they responded to Hayward's catastrophic injury with 16 straight wins, to the way they finished strong after finding out Irving was done for the year.
The Celtics, on the other hand, knew they could not treat him like that. We saw one blockbuster trade after another go down, with many superstars exchanging their old jersey for a new one. Lets not forget what the Cavaliers are capable of. Boston went on to win the National Basketball Association title that season.
Perhaps James was simply exhausted from carrying the Cavaliers all night like the trendy satchel he had slung across his body, but one could detect a hint of resignation in the King's voice as he discussed the aftermath of Game 2.