NBA Preview: The Cavaliers are in total control of this series after a record-setting 130-86 win on Friday. Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of the playoffs for Boston.
#1 Boston Celtics (61-36) at #2 Cleveland Cavaliers (61-31), Sunday, 8:30 p.m. EST
Line: Cavaliers -16. Total 213.5.
Series: Cavaliers lead 2-0.
Are there any more accolades we can throw LeBron James way this postseason? Is there anything else I can say about this legend that will do him justice?
The list just keeps getting longer and longer. The latest additions come from the 130-86 thrashing of the Celtics in Game 2.
LeBron and the Cavs handed Boston their worst home playoff loss in franchise history (44 points). Cleveland scored the most points in the playoffs in franchise playoff history (130). The Cavaliers tied an NBA record for most consecutive playoff wins (13). The Cavaliers set an NBA record for biggest halftime lead (41 points). LeBron tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most consecutive 30-point playoff games (8).
Not bad for a night’s work. Oh by the way, James had 30 points, 7 assists, 4 steals while grabbing 4 boards in just under 33 minutes played. LeBron shot 12-for-18 from the field to keep his streak alive for shooting over 50% in every game this postseason. James shot 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, taking his three-point shooting percentage to 43.6% for the postseason.
King James is now 34-4 in the playoffs since returning to Cleveland in 2014-15 against the Eastern Conference. If the Cavs can win Sunday night, then they will be 11-0 to start the postseason. As a result, the Cavaliers will become just the third team in NBA history to do that. Golden State just accomplished that feat Saturday night as the second team in NBA history to start the playoffs 11-0.
The big news out of Boston is that Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of the playoffs with an aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear. Let’s just say he has a hip injury. However, he may need offseason surgery to repair the tears in the labrum.
Under normal circumstances, I would say that this would be devastating news for the Celtics. However, with the Cavaliers playing at the level they are playing at right now, this injury simply has no impact on the outcome of this series.
The Cavaliers are going to sweep this series whether Thomas is healthy or not. LeBron and the Cavs are on a mission because they want to be 12-0 going into the NBA Finals. As I have documented in several articles this postseason, the Cavaliers are trying to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses in this instance is Golden State.
Kevin Love had another good performance in Game 2 with 21 points and 12 rebounds in less than 27 minutes played. Kyrie Irving added 23 points, 3 assists and shot 8-for-11 from the field. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 19 points.
From a handicapping perspective, my kneejerk reaction would be to take the Celtics in Game 3 after such a historic beatdown. This is clearly a bounce-back spot for Boston after being embarrassed so badly on their home floor. However, the Celtics have not shown any ability to stop LeBron or the Cavaliers. James is getting whatever he wants on the court. He is getting open looks from beyond the arc. He is getting open looks on mid-range jumpers. Furthermore, he is taking the ball to the hole at will.
Once a team realizes they have no chance to not only win the series, but win a game, that team mentally checks out. They quit. The Celtics will say all the right things to the cameras pregame and postgame, but do they really believe what they saying? Boston said all the right things after getting trounced in Game 1 and they only got demolished even worse in Game 2.
Cleveland can name their score in Game 3. I believe the Celtics will come out with some vim and vigor Sunday night. However, as soon as Boston gets down double-digits, the motivational level subsides and the realization will set in that this could be another beatdown.
My postseason record: 16-7 (+$745).
No play tonight although I do like the Cavaliers to cover. No more plays for me until the finals.
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