Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

LeBron James Needs To Fire Against The Celtics In Game 2

LeBron James Needs To Fire Against The Celtics In Game 2

The Cleveland Cavaliers star put his skills on display when he described what went wrong during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

James finished with 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting with 7 rebounds and 9 assists. With the final score a blowout win for the Celtics, 108-83, one wonders what happened to Cleveland.

"I mean, he nearly had a triple-double, so he was pretty darned good", the Celtics coach said of James' Sunday performance.

On the contrary, the Celtics were winners of five of their last six games heading into Game 1.

"I've got a great sense of the way they played me [Sunday] and how I'll play going into Game 2", James said.

"With Love at the 5, you have everybody out there that can shoot the ball".

"I think in the first half we were a little soft", Love told ESPN's Dave McMenamin after Monday's practice. He was even brought into the starting lineup to match the Cavaliers small ball lineup where he could guard James right from the start.

"That's a good question. It's about us trying to answer that challenge and finding a new level defensively as well". "They were basically doing the same thing we're doing, but they executed better than we did". He might need a few more to stop a Celtics team that grew under him - and often because of him. Just gaudy numbers for a guy in his 15th season. The no. 3 picks from the 2016 and 2017 National Basketball Association drafts have excelled in the playoffs this year, and they are vastly superior to JR Smith and Kyle Korver, who they are matching up with.

That is balance, meaning they don't have to rely on one or two players - as Cleveland does with James and Kevin Love.

Boston Celtics: Marcus Morris shows up when it matters most
The Celtics showed James several different looks throughout the game , switching as many as five different players on him. Not only did he manage to curb the influence of LeBron , but he was actually the better player out of the two.

"I think we're very alert to the fact that we'll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night", Stevens said.

The reporters at the post-game press conference couldn't help but burst into applause as James simply said, 'There you go'.

"Whenever we've needed him to step up offensively, he has done that". Cleveland used that not just to hold Toronto's offense down, as it's easier for them to avoid their frequent communication errors when they aren't forced to move on defense and are able to set into their scheme, but also to propel their own offense through quickly turning around because they weren't on the back foot.

By inserting Tristan Thompson into the starting five alongside Love, Cleveland would most likely force the Celtics to counter by using Aron Baynes.

"We've got to help 'Bron", he said. Many expected him to fail again.

James said the Celtics deserved credit for the defensive strategy they employed against him, which started with Marcus Morris challenging him from outset, limiting him to 2-of-6 shooting in the first quarter as Cleveland fell into a 36-18 hole.

Morris was huge in game one and will need to continue to be huge the rest of the series. "We try to do it with as many bodies as possible, and then we've got to guard the other guys. And we're going to take those same looks going into Game 2 if the opportunity presents itself".

Before Sunday's game, a video on the big board highlighted "experts" doubting these Celtics in the postseason.

When the possibility of a lineup change was posed, Lue said, "It's definitely something we have to weigh".

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