Fast forward to Game 1 of that series Wednesday at TD Garden, where Olynyk found himself trying to stop Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James - and failing miserably. "We can't allow a team of their caliber to build a lead like that in the first quarter".
Love averaged a quiet 13.8 points in the first two rounds, then broke out against a Boston team that knocked him out of the 2015 playoffs when he became tangled with Kelly Olynyk and dislocated his shoulder. The myriad ways James can affect the game stood in stark contrast to Isaiah Thomas, who looked passive for much of the loss, waking up only when the game was already slipping away.
The Cavs are back in Boston Friday night for Game 2 and by now they realize this is a more focused and determined Cavaliers team than they had seen in the regular season.
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is a realist. It's easy to say now, but this game would've been closer had the Celtics not missed 26 threes (12-of-38). "We got guys that understand that whenever you take extracurricular actions, there's consequences for it and for us". But Cleveland erased that edge quickly. "You can't start off a game shooting a bunch of jump shots".
"Well, for me I saw that in Kev this morning", said LeBron. "Tonight was one of those nights I was able to make a couple plays". The Cavs really did dominate the Celtics on both ends of the floor and the final score doesn't do justice to how one-sided this game really was. Now that the Cavs have taken Game 1, no longer can you check off home-court advantage as a plus for the Celtics.
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS: Ducks snap Predators' streak
Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan held up a big catfish, and Urban later was shown on the video board holding up a big catfish. This spectacle is a major reason why the Predators have sold out every one of their home games this season.
That gave Celtics fans a day to dream about next year's team, which could add a college star like Washington's Markelle Fultz; at least one fan showed up at Wednesday's game with Fultz's name written on his Celtics T-shirt in marker.
James, who is seeking to reach his seventh straight National Basketball Association finals, scored 15 in the fourth quarter en route to his seventh straight 30-point game. The margin reached 12, but Wall roared from there with all 14 of his first-half points coming in the second quarter.
The Cavaliers keep getting better the deeper they go into the playoffs - a good sign for their impending rubber match in the NBA Finals with Golden State.
"Almost all the first half we got what we wanted, we just couldn't capitalize", Thomas said. Then they went with a bit more versatility, but settling for jumpers was no problem for him either. We expect better from the Cs in Game 2, but it's still going to take a huge effort for Boston to steal a game.
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