James unworried despite Game 1 rout

James unworried despite Game 1 rout

The Boston Celtics systematically dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers piece by piece in Game 1 of the Conference Finals series.

Tyronn Lue told the Cleveland Cavaliers to put Game 1 behind them, chalk it up to a bad game in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals, and get ready for Game 2 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.

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 had help. Boston switched most screens, meaning the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeleye and even Terry Rozier had their chances against James.

"Our confidence level is very high", said Morris, who recorded the first postseason double-double of his career. In contrast, the Celtics managed 33 points from 3-pointers, going a solid 11-for-30 from beyond the arc. Thompson has given the Celtics fits in the past, especially Al Horford, and provides some protection for Kevin Love, whom Horford took to school on Sunday.

James seems determined to have a rebound performance in Tuesday night's Game 2 and was seen warming up and getting shots in early on Tuesday in Boston's TD Garden.

The 28-year-old was thrust into Boston's starting line-up for Game One and found himself defending against LeBron in 24 plays during the game, limiting the three-time National Basketball Association champion to five points on two-for-six from the field and two assists and forcing one turnover.

As for James, if Game 1 truly was a "feel-out game", he needs to take his own advice, look at the history and treat Game 2 like something else entirely.

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LeBron saw many different defenders in game 1, and he wasn't able to solve any of them. In Game 1, Kevin Love was the leading scorer with 17 points, but he was just 1-of-4 from three. Shooting a dismal 15% on three-point attempts as a team didn't help Cleveland's effort either, nor did James' seven turnovers on the day.

"I expect him to have a big response", Love said of James on Monday. We had a really tough loss; he came out and played really well and started that game off extremely well. "So, you have to make it as hard as possible on him and guard the other guys well". His Celtics are three games away from heading to the NBA Finals. In fact, most people didn't think that the Celtics would make it this far, but they continue to surprise people.

LeBron doesn't always lose and play poorly in Game 1 of a playoff series, but it's happened often enough to at least look into what the man is saying.

And judging the way that the Celtics beat up on the Cavs in Game 1, some would argue that Auerbach's spirit was with them on Sunday, too.

'We come back down, miss another shot, and then Tatum came down and went 94 feet and made right hand lay-up, time out, ' James concludes.

Marcus Morris did his homework while preparing to guard LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals, watching the King's previous 11 playoff games against the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers.

"It's definitely something we have to weigh", Lue said. "That's what part of the playoff series is about", James said.

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