Welcome to the first Must-Read Recap, which we'll have for the rest of the Celtics' playoff run. It's no-frills in some respects, and too-many-frills in other respects. You're gonna hate it.
The Celtics positively smoked the Cavaliers, 108-83, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. That's a 25-point victory. At one point, the Celtics' lead was 28. They doubled up the Cavs, 36-18, and really didn't look back. The closest the Cavs cut it was 14 points in the third quarter, but the Celtics quickly opened the lead back up for good.
WHY'D THE CELTICS WIN BY THAT MUCH?
Because they defended LeBron James unbelievably and got ace performances out of Jaylen Brown and Al Horford. And it's not like anyone else carried the load while LeBron was kept quiet. Cleveland had only 35 points in the first half and went 0-for-12 on 3s in that span. Hell, it took until there was 6:54 remaining in the third for a Cavalier to hit double digit points.
Here's a pretty telling mini box score:
Jaylen Brown: 23 points, 8 rebounds
Al Horford: 20 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds
Marcus Morris: 21 points, 10 rebounds
LeBron James: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists
All other Cleveland starters: 31 points
LEBRON VS. TATUM CONN SMYTHE WATCH
Jayson Tatum's streak of 20-point games ended at seven, but he still outscored LeBron, 16-15.
THE CAVALIERS MISSED KYRIE...
George Hill had zero points in the first quarter. To be fair, that's as many as Kyrie had, too. George finished the game with five.
THE CELTICS MISSED KYRIE...
You might think that's a little too much and that I should have gone with one of the other several graphics I made for this bit, but though Terry Rozier defended well and contributed eight assists and six rebounds, he had a rather quiet eight points. Plus, the third quarter was where the Cavaliers made their run. Earlier in the season, that would be a classic put-Kyrie-back-in-and-ice-this-thing scenario.
BEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE OF THE GAME
Tatum's 3-pointer with just under eight minutes to make it a 26-point game. That's when I was officially 90 percent sure they were going to win. Judge that however you'd like.
WORST MOMENT OF MY LIFE OF THE GAME
Kevin Love put up a long 2-pointer with 3.8 seconds left in the third quarter with the Celtics holding a 16-point lead. He missed and the rebound came down to Semi Ojeleye, who turned his back to the play. He had no idea where the ball was and accidentally hit it off Marcus Smart to Jeff Green, who drained a jump shot to make it a 14-point game at the buzzer.
WHICH KEVIN LOVE WAS KEVIN LOVE?
First round against the Pacers Kevin Love
Love led the Cavs with 17 points (lol), but he shot 36 percent from the field and had only eight rebounds after hitting double digits in three of four games in the Raptors series.
WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS STEPHEN A. SMITH?
After mentioning that he would be at the game at seemingly each mention of the game on "First Take" this week, Stephen A. Smith was indeed at the game. He even chopped it up with Abby Chin and A. Sherrod Blakely on Pregame Live.
DREAM TEAM!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Ky1vKkhdWe— DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) May 13, 2018
IF I'M LEBRON I'M THINKING...
That I should ask Jayson Tatum for a picture and a follow back.