During a chaotic season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were a flashy offensive-minded group, built to overwhelm teams with spacing, 3-point shooting and efficiency.
The Celtics, who overcame a double-digit deficit, have never blown a 2-0 lead in the post-season. In 16 possessions guarded by Smith, Brown scored 12 points and shot 5 for 5. It felt like he was on his way for another historic performance in Boston's arena. The Indians, in not acting to fortify (primarily because of financial constraints) what had been the most unique and reliable piece of the last two years, let the hole in the pen remain.The Cavs, in trading their second-best player without getting the return he was worth, failed by commission, acting when some would say no action was the best course. Boston has been solid at the charity stripe as they sink 77.1 percent of their chances.
James Harden and Chris Paul combined for 64 points in game one but it was not enough, as the Golden State Warriors came away with a 119-106 win. Boston converted 17 of 20 free throws and forced 15 turnovers while committing just six. As much as Jayson Tatum starred against the Celtics, Brown has shown off what he's capable of in the East Finals. Because this team is different. They swapped out pretty much half of the roster, bringing in a number of younger role players, including Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, along with veteran point guard George Hill. Cleveland did exactly that: for a half.
Smith has a history against the Celtics, so it's surprising that his latest antics didn't earn him another few days off, or at least a hefty fine. The Boston Celtics are allowing 33 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43.1 rebounds per game. The relentless pressure and intensity of the Celtics continued to wear on the Cavs, as Boston were just kicking into gear.
Cleveland finds itself in the situation they didn't want to be in: down 2-0 heading home where a slow start could lead to the crowd turning on them. "If we win, that's all that matters", Rozier said.
"We're going to fight". According to a report from The Athletic's Jason Lloyd, both LeBron and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue wanted to trade for the Clippers big man. So being down 0-2, the Cavaliers should have some level of concern, but don't count them out yet. The Celtics have not played with the same force and efficiency on the road in the playoffs (1-4).
"We have the opportunity to go back home and take home court", he said.
Tuesday's game got physical as the Celtics pulled out all the stops to try and contain James. With the exception of Irving, the team's second-leading scorer that year, their lineup in the Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics is the same. He ended the Celtics' seasons in 2011 and 2012 and the team was broken up after one more year together.