'Zero concern' as James says Cavs will bounce back

With Game 1 win, Celtics show LeBron James' Cavaliers that this series will be different

With Game 1 win, Celtics show LeBron James' Cavaliers that this series will be different

The Eastern Conference Finals continue tonight with Game 2 of the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Thompson is going to be on Horford, and he'll likely collect some rebounds as a result, but I think you should be far less concerned with that element so long as your defense on James is what it was on Sunday.

The only Celtic in the starting lineup at risk of being picked on consistently by James is Terry Rozier, who stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 190-pounds. The last team to beat a James team in the Eastern Conference playoffs was the Celtics in 2010.

On Sunday, James finished the night with 15 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and two blocks.

While almost everything went Boston's way in the second half thanks to their hustle and grit, Cleveland struggled mightily, scoring just 39 points in the final 24 minutes. The team firmly believes that the best way to keep a team off its game is to switch matchups early and often.

Lebron James is the Wilt Chamberlain of today's National Basketball Association, while Morris and the Celtics represent Russell and the Celtics of old. Even if it is just for brief stretches, the Celtics know how they need to disrupt James to take control of the game. Players like Marcus Morris and Al Horford can be used in numerous ways for plenty of scenarios. The Cavs had an offensive efficiency of 86.8 points per 100 possessions with James and Love on the floor, according to ESPN Stats & Information, a stark difference to the offensive efficiency of 113.1 points per 100 possessions that the duo generated the rest of the playoffs. "We look to try to get off to a good start". Morris went on to finish with 10 rebounds and 21 points making it his first career playoff double.

When the Cavs did finally show a little momentum, cutting Boston's lead to 14 at the end of the third quarter, the Celtics responded with a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth. "We came out with a lot of energy". If they get a signature 30 to 40-point effort from James, they could pull this out.

Through one quarter, the 4-time MVP has hardly disappointed. They also have the depth needed to execute constantly, that way they can still put in their top guys when they are needed the most.

"I have zero level of concern at this stage", James said after the Celtics blew the Cavs out in the opening game - a rare poor playoff outing for James.

Horford, whose performances are nearly dissected on a nightly basis because of his high-priced contract, is enjoying the best postseason of his career, averaging 17.2 points and 8.3 rebounds, while shooting 59.3 percent from the floor. Unless something changes the momentum of this series, the Celtics should go ahead 2-0.

Like the Boston Celtics dug past their regular rotation when the time was right this postseason, such as starting Semi Ojeleye against the Milwaukee Bucks to slow down Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Cavaliers must use their depth.

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