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NBA playoffs: Cavs send Celtics to record loss, 130-86, lead series 2-0

First Published      Last Updated May 19 2017 11:21 pm


NBA » They lead by 41 at halftime, win 13th straight playoff game.

Boston • An NBA playoff-record, 41-point halftime lead. A franchise record for total points. A 13th consecutive playoff win, tying another league record.

And LeBron James says the Cleveland Cavaliers can still do better.

"I believe we've got another level, as well," he said after Cleveland steamrolled the Boston Celtics with 130-86 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. "As well as we played tonight, we've got a couple of things we can do better. There's no complacency for us now. But we like where we're headed."

Minutes after the NBA announced the three finalists for the MVP award — and James wasn't among them — the Cavaliers star scored 30 points before resting in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which led by 14 points after one quarter, by 72-31 at the half and by 46 after three.




Even with all of the starters sitting out the fourth, the 130 points was the most ever scored by the Cavaliers in a playoff game.

Kyrie Irving had 23 points for the Cavaliers, who return home with a chance to finish off the Celtics in Cleveland. It would be the third straight sweep this postseason for the defending NBA champions, who also won the last three games of last year's finals.

Game 3 is Sunday night.

"It's one game. I don't care if you win by 200 points," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We're going back home, we're not going to get comfortable. We understand that this is a good team. They're not No. 1 in the East for no reason."

The Celtics played the second half without Isaiah Thomas, who had a strained right hip. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the star point guard had a nagging injury that he aggravated a week ago during the second-round series against Washington.

Asked how much that hurt his team, Stevens said, "Not 44 points worth."

"I don't want to put that on any one guy," he said. "Ultimately, they were terrific. We were poor. You've got to be able to pick up the slack, certainly, when other guys aren't available."

With both teams going to their benches in the fourth, the only suspense was whether the Celtics could avoid the worst playoff loss in franchise history. The Orlando Magic beat them by 47 points in the first round of the 1995 postseason.

Still, it was the worst home playoff loss ever for the most-decorated franchise in NBA history.

"It is embarrassing," guard Avery Bradley said. "As a man, as a basketball team, it will say a lot about us how we respond."

Thomas finished with just a pair of free throws, missing all six shots from the field. Rookie Jaylen Brown scored a career playoff-high 19 points for Boston.

The game tipped off about 15 minutes after the NBA announced that James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard were the finalists for the MVP award — the first time since 2008 that James won't finish in the top three.

Lue chuckled when he found out after the game that James was not a finalist.

"You've got to give the award to different people every now and then," Lue said. "But to me, LeBron's the MVP."

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AT A GLANCE

Schedule

Best-of-7; x-if necessary

Eastern Conference finals

Cleveland 2, Boston 0

Game 1: Cleveland 117, Boston 104

Game 2: Cleveland 130, Boston 86

Sunday: at Cleveland, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday: at Cleveland, 6:30 p.m.

x-May 25: at Boston, 6:30 p.m.

x-May 27: at Cleveland, 6:30 p.m.

x-May 29: at Boston, 6:30 p.m.


Cavaliers 130, Celtics 86

Cleveland 32 40 31 27 — 130

Boston 18 13 26 29 — 86

CAVALIERS (130)

James 12-18 2-4 30, Love 7-14 3-4 21, Thompson 3-5 1-2 7, Irving 8-11 4-5 23, Smith 4-5 0-0 9, Jefferson 3-7 2-4 10, Frye 3-6 0-0 7, Derr.Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Dero.Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Korver 2-5 2-2 8, J.Jones 0-2 0-0 0, Shumpert 2-2 1-2 7, D.Jones 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 48-85 15-23 130.

CELTICS (86)

Green 2-4 0-0 6, Crowder 3-9 2-2 9, Horford 4-9 1-2 11, Thomas 0-6 2-2 2, Bradley 6-17 0-0 13, Brown 7-11 5-5 19, Mickey 1-3 0-0 2, Jerebko 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 1-4 0-0 2, Zeller 4-6 0-0 8, Olynyk 0-2 0-0 0, Smart 0-6 4-4 4, Rozier 2-5 0-0 6. Totals 32-86 14-15 86.

3-Point Goals—Cleveland 19-39 (James 4-6, Love 4-9, Irving 3-6, Shumpert 2-2, Jefferson 2-4, Korver 2-5, Smith 1-1, Frye 1-2, J.Jones 0-1, Derr.Williams 0-1, Dero.Williams 0-2), Boston 8-27 (Green 2-3, Horford 2-4, Rozier 2-4, Crowder 1-4, Bradley 1-5, Jerebko 0-1, Olynyk 0-1, Smart 0-1, Brown 0-2, Thomas 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Cleveland 45 (Love 12), Boston 39 (Mickey, Horford, Smart 5). Assists—Cleveland 28 (James 7), Boston 23 (Smart 7). Total Fouls—Cleveland 17, Boston 19. Technicals—Boston defensive three second, Boston team, Thomas, Boston coach Brad Stevens. A—18,624 (18,624).


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