CLEVELAND – Good try. Good effort.
Boston did both on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But in facing a Cavaliers team that ranks among the best in the NBA, good is not going to be good enough most of the time.
And that was indeed the case on Sunday as Cleveland officially took control of this series with a 113-100 Game 1 win.
Game 2 will be at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday.
Boston had its share of runs in the game, but could never quite get over the hump and put serious pressure on the Cavs.
After falling behind by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, Boston went on a 14-0 run that cut the Cavs lead to 82-76.
However, Cleveland closed out the quarter with a 9-0 run that included five points scored by backup wing James Jones.
Boston continued to play with good effort in the fourth, but just couldn’t make the necessary plays needed to overcome Cleveland’s double-digit lead.
Kyrie Irving was huge, leading all scorers with 30 points.
But as much as Cleveland’s Big Three of James, Irving and Kevin Love are credited with the team’s success this season (they totaled 69 points on Sunday), the Cavs showed on Sunday that others chip in as well.
Jones’ scoring near the end of the third quarter was huge in Cleveland’s win, as well as the interior defense played by Timothy Mozgov. As Kevin Love struggled in the first half, the play of Tristan Thompson (12 points, five rebounds) was critical in keeping the Cavs in control.
Here are some other keys to Sunday's game.
The Celtics’ second unit was at it again, keeping the Celtics afloat when the starters could never quite get it going with any kind of consistency. Boston’s backups finished with 55 points, led by Isaiah Thomas’ double-double of 22 points and 10 assists.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
He has been a fairly consistent player for Boston this season, but you would not have known that by the way he played on Sunday. It was one of the few games by Bradley where he struggled mightily at both ends of the floor. He had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting and could do nothing to slow down Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving.
With Cleveland ahead 82-76, James Jones drilled a turn-around jumper in the third quarter. The basket snapped a 14-0 run by Boston. Just as important, it triggered a 9-0 run by Cleveland to close out the quarter with Cleveland’s control never being an issue afterward.
Boston will try and make the necessary adjustments for Game 2 here in Cleveland on Tuesday.