NBA East Finals -- Celtics versus Cavs will not disappoint

LeBron James neck

Marcus Smart has an uncanny ability to fight through picks and stay attached to the offensive player's body, while Jaylen Brown's athleticism and length allow him a greater margin for error. "Going to have to play better Tuesday", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the 108-83 rout in the series opener - a game blown open in the first quarter.

LeBron James will probably score 35 points (or more) tonight, maybe with 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

When he was finished James leaned back in his chair, spread his arms and wryly said, "There you go".

There have been times (against the Warriors and Spurs in the Finals, for example) when dropping Game 1 of a series has proved to be less of a "feel-out game" and more like "the other team was just better". Whereas Brown has the size to defend James, Smart has the strength to keep the four-time MVP in front of him when James tries to overpower him. The Celtics need to anticipate James will be back to the best player on the court, but if Morris can be as serviceable as he was in this one, the Celtics will be in a good position.

James was among those who credited Morris.

Surely, one game won't define a series as protracted as a best-of-seven.

Boston though isn't IN and allowing the Celtics go 2-0. There was one particular possession in the third quarter where James got the matchup he was looking for by setting a screen on George Hill, who was being guarded by Rozier, at the top of the perimeter.

Thus, with 7:09 left to play-and Boston unreachable like a thoroughbred inches away from winning a horserace-James was told to stay on the bench.

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Boston Celtics forward Al Horford (42) and Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love compete for control of the ball during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals, Sunday, May 13, 2018, in Boston.

The two-man game off the ball between Kevin Love and Korver that was so unstoppable against the Raptors had little traction against Boston.

Morris talked the talk leading up to Game 1, embracing the challenge ahead.

LeBron James has made Boston's TD Garden his personal playground during the playoffs in recent years. The Celtics can't afford to leave Rozier on an island in those situations, meaning there's an opening on the weakside that James has the vision to locate.

"We come back down, miss another shot, and then Tatum came down, went 94 feet, did a Eurostep, and made a right-hand layup".

Marcus Morris had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Boston and led a swarming defensive effort that shut down Cavs playmaker James, who averaged 34 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in prior playoff games. He also committed seven of the team's nine turnovers. Morris says the injury-riddled Celtics-who were underdogs on Sunday for the fifth time in six games (5-1 record in those contests)-believe they are capable of defeating any opponent. The Cavaliers' defense broke consistently due to their inability contain players along the perimeter or interior.

Interestingly, LeBron only hit 41-percent in Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers. It was just one game in what is expected to be a long series, but there is an extended history of "Mook" containing "The King"-proving that Morris' lofty claims have some serious merit".



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