Just like the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ performance in the playoffs has been very uneven. After nearly getting knocked out in the first round by the Indiana Pacers, the Cavs easily swept the Toronto Raptors to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, the poor play returned in a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the conference finals. While the team played better in Game 2 last night, they still left the TD Garden with a loss.
Fueled by a dominant performance by LeBron James, the Cavaliers got off to a great start last night. They held a four-point lead after scoring 27 points in the first quarter. The lead was extended to seven points at halftime with a 28-point second quarter. Cleveland looked poised to even the series, but they completely fell apart in the second half.
There is a reason why Brad Stevens is considered one of the best coaches in the NBA. After making a few changes to the gameplan in the locker room at halftime, the Celtics looked like an entirely different team in the second half. The Boston offense was simply unstoppable in the third quarter. After scoring 36 points in the third, the Celtics held a seven-point lead with 12 minutes left to play.
Boston slowed the game down in the fourth quarter to limit Cleveland’s possessions. It is hard to mount a comeback if you do not get many shot opportunities. The slow pace frustrated the Cavaliers. After playing solid for three quarters, they were unable to get anything going in the fourth. Cleveland ultimately lost 107-94 despite getting 42 points from LeBron James.
Cleveland’s title chances hinge on finding a way to win Game 3. The crucial game will be played at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, May 19.