"So we just take what the defense gives us, and that's how we try to play".
After LeBron James was done trolling the Celtics on the floor, he continued his victory lap at the podium. (Game 1) was a huge performance from him.
Kelly Olynyk, the hero of Game 7 against Washington with 26 points, was held scoreless in the opener against Cleveland until Boston's last shot of the game.
Fast forward to Game 1 of that series Wednesday at TD Garden, where Olynyk found himself trying to stop Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James - and failing miserably. "We have to be ready for it", he said. "When LeBron's playing at that level other guys just have to be solid and we have a good chance to win". Meanwhile, the Cavs enjoyed over a week of downtime while they watched the C's and Wizards battle it out. "We want the mentality of Kevin from Minnesota, but his usage rate (doesn't) have to be as high as Minnesota. But I should be much better (Friday)". Kyrie Irving was quiet and he only scored 11 points.
BOSTON (AP) - So much for the Cavaliers being rusty.
Things did not improve for Boston, as the Cavaliers opened the second quarter with a 6-1 run, highlighted by two driving layups by Love.
The Cleveland Cavaliers showed no rust after over a week off.
Suddenly, the Boston Celtics' future looks a lot better than their present. But the Celtics missed their next five shots and a Kevin Love three-pointer pushed the Cleveland lead to 21 with 5:43 remaining in the half.
It is not surprising that a rested LeBron James and his guard from the first seconds of the match rushed away from the "Boston" home court advantage.
Part of Boston's second half success was the small lineup they trotted out.
The shoulder was working just fine Wednesday, and he scored in the paint and from the outside. Change out Crowder for Brown and Thomas for Smart and that grouping put up 12 points in four minutes, and was a plus-three. James is averaging 34.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this postseason, shooting 56 percent from the field.
Boston also seemed content to make every switch created by Cleveland screens, leading to some awkward matchups for James in the first half.
Maybe those small lineups were the difference, or maybe it was a bit of fool's gold as Stevens alluded to postgame.
One of the Celtics' issues all night was not sending help when James got into one-on-one situations.
Meanwhile, the Celtics got strong play in the first half from rookie Jaylen Brown who continues to play some of his best basketball against the Cavaliers.
Of course Thompson isn't the only one who can pull down rebounds.
James had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. It wasn't until the Celtics started corralling rebounds (or the Cavs let up a bit) that the Celtics started to make their brief comeback. But until the Cavs actually lose a game, it isn't wise to pick against them.