The Cleveland Cavaliers made their way to Boston to play the Celtics last night. The game brought NBA fans a showdown between the top two contenders in the Eastern Conference. Going into the game, both teams were tied at the top. It was the first game in ESPN’s doubleheader and it did not disappoint. The teams both held records of 50-27 going into the game. Obviously, only one team could get the win, and it ended up being the Cavaliers.
[Image by Charles Krupa/AP Images]
Cleveland and Boston both have played extremely well this season and Boston has the potential to give the Cavaliers a run for their money in the playoffs. Last night, the Cavaliers came away with a 114-91 win. Lebron James did what Lebron James does and took over the game, scoring 36 points in 38 minutes and throwing down this monster of a dunk:
LeBron drops 15 in Q2 & has 19 PTS, 7 REBS at the half. @Cavs score 38 in Q2 & lead the @Celtics on ESPN, 57-42. pic.twitter.com/Qr7huVUJ1W
— NBA (@NBA) April 6, 2017
Throughout the season, Lebron has continued to put up big numbers. He’s played in 72 of the teams 78 games so far. His stat line is currently 26.3 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, and 8.7 assists per game. At this point in his career, those are great numbers. There’s no denying his talent and the fact that the Cavaliers are more than likely still the best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics, on the other hand, have played better than some (or many) people expected. They have a lot of younger players on their teams and have a great system going in Boston under Brad Stevens. Isaiah Thomas has garnered a lot of attention with his play this season and with good reason. He’s averaging 29.1 points per game and 5.9 assists per game this season.
Last night’s game provided the audience with great performances from both Thomas and James. Isiah Thomas went a little cold from three, shooting just 12.5% for the night. James didn’t have much better luck, shooting 1-4 for 25% from behind the arc. However, James came out with the better shooting night in the end. He made all of his free throws and was efficient from 2. It helps when you can get to the hoop as often and as well as he does.
[Image by Charles Krupa/AP Images]
The Cavaliers also just had a better performance from their starters in general. Each one raked in double digits on the scoreboard while the Celtics only did the same with three of their five starters. Not to mention, the Cavaliers played this well without Tristan Thompson. Ian Thomsen reported on Thompson’s status for NBA.com:
Tristan Thompson (sprained right thumb) was left behind in Cleveland, which not only ended his league-leading streak of consecutive games at 447, but also robbed the Cavaliers of a lethal rebounder whose 36 rebounds (13 offensive) had exploited Boston’s weakness on the boards in three previous meetings. In his absence Cleveland bullied Boston on the glass (51-38), while his replacement at center, Channing Frye, provided eight rebounds and 10 points in 17 minutes. All of Cleveland’s starters scored in double-figures.
One game will not determine how the Boston Celtics would fair in a playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, this is proof that the team still has room for improvement. A 23 point loss is nothing to just brush off, even with a record of 50-28 now. If the Celtics ever want to take control of the Eastern Conference, they need to find a way to beat the Cavaliers on a consistent basis. They have some great pieces at their disposal, so it will be interesting to see if they meet at some point in the playoffs. It would absolutely be a must-watch series, even if you aren’t a fan of the Celtics or Cavaliers.
[Featured Image by Charles Krupa/AP Images]