Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 Review
Cavaliers 83 – Celtics 108
After a lot of pre-match discussion, two of the best teams in the East finally faced off against each other in the playoffs. The Celtics were missing their two best players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The game was expected to be tight. What the game produced was a demolition job by the Celtics.
After a back and forth in the first few minutes, the Celtics started to pull ahead through large contributions from a trio of youngsters from the team. Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have proved in these playoffs to give the Celtics life in the absence of injured stars. The Celtics had a desire which was not seen in the Cavaliers, the desire to win by any means necessary. The team was determined to not get beaten by the reigning Eastern champions.
Celtics dominate on defence
On offence, the Celtics looked superior. On defence, the Celtics looked like they were in an entirely different league. The defensive superiority showed as the Celtics finished 36-18 after the first quarter. Such was the dominance by the Celtics that had the Celtics not scored a single point in the second quarter, they still would have gone in to the half with the lead. However, they did score points in the second quarter, continuing their first quarter dominance.
At one point, the Celtics were up by 28 points before the first half had even concluded. The Celtics saw that dominance through to the end of the game, maintaining a consistent lead. Both teams have good 3 point threats, but only the Celtics showed theirs on the day. The Celtics defence limited the Cavaliers to only 4 made 3 pointers in 26 attempts over the course of the game. Although the Cavaliers outscored the Celtics 29-17 in the third quarter, no credible comeback attempt was present and the Celtics went on to win by 25 points.
Player of the game
There were several different candidates for this honour. Marcus Morris, Brown and Tatum all put in stellar performances, but my player of the game has to be Al Horford. Horford contributed 20 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Although Horford’s numbers didn’t stand out in the box score, he looked calm and composed whenever he received the ball. Whenever the ball was played to him, he looked determined and knew exactly how to get to the basket. He led the team by example as one of the most senior players on the side. This certainly is not to take anything away from Marcus Morris, who had a stellar performance guarding one of basketball’s legends in LeBron James.
If the Cavaliers want to go to a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, they’ll need to find a way to deal with this young and determined Celtics side.
Game 2 is at 1:30am on Wednesday.