Boston, Massachusetts, USA: The Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 108-83 rout in the Eastern Conference finals series opener in Boston on Sunday.
Jaylen Brown had 23 points and eight rebounds, Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Al Horford scored 20 points for the Celtics, who ran off 17 consecutive points in the first quarter to pull away.
Boston’s 36-18 lead at the end of one quarter was the second-largest in a playoff game in franchise history.
The Boston Celtics opened a 21-point first-quarter lead and never looked back improving to 8-0 at home this postseason.
Kevin Love had 17 points and eight rebounds, and LeBron James finished with 15 points, nine assists and seven boards. The Cavaliers missed their first 14 3-point attempts of the game and shot just 32 percent in the first half.
By that time, Boston led 61-35 — the biggest halftime playoff deficit in James’ career.
The Boston Celtics matched the Cleveland Cavaliers by starting small in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday.
The Celtics put forward – self-proclaimed LeBron James stopper – Marcus Morris into the starting lineup in place of center Aron Baynes, head coach Brad Stevens announced.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers continued to bring Tristan Thompson off the bench and started Kevin Love at center, a five-out look that eviscerated the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Morris-for-Baynes swap meant that head coach Brad Stevens moved Al Horford to center to match up with Kevin Love.
Morris got a chance to back up his tall talk, as he saw time defending James to start the game.
“Personally, I think I’m probably the best guy defending him in the league, outside of Kawhi,” Morris earlier said before the game.
Morris, starting in place of Aron Baynes, backed up his boast that he could cover James better than anyone except Kawhi Leonard and helped pester James into seven of Cleveland’s nine turnovers. (James had eight in the entire four-game, second-round sweep of the Raptors.)