Players like Shane Larkin, Semi Olejeye, and Marcus Smart make it possible for Coach Stevens to sub out the starters and let them rest for long periods of times. After the game a reporter asked LeBron a simple question, "What happened?" He's 2-4 in series in which he's trailed 0-2 (the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons and 2016 Finals against the Warriors being the exceptions).
Morris is celarly going to be a vital player on both ends in this series, and he could not have done a better job in game one.
Morris was right. He defended James more than anyone else on the Celtics and was credited with limiting him to eight points on 3-for-10 shooting (as well as five assists on four turnovers), but Morris wouldn't have had the individual success he did without the help of his teammates.
But in his final answer Monday, Lue dropped an analytical nugget that revealed he's likely to start center Tristan Thompson in tonight's Game 2 against the Celtics. "We'll see how he feels".
Love has had a very up-and-down postseason. "He's always done it". The lesson of that game is that the Celtics have executed that game plan, at least so far, while the Raptors did not and earned a quick exit for that failure. "We didn't play well with that lineup that got us to this point". "He's going to approach this game as one where he's going to have to lead and bounce back".
I have zero level of concern at this stage. "I've been down before in the postseason". After averaging 22.5 dimes a game in the regular season and 21.6 during the playoffs, Boston dished out 27 assists in the Game 1 rout. I just think they took advantage of mismatches and we weren't able to get there. Lue is trying to get Celtics coach Brad Stevens to combat Thompson with Aron Baynes, thus taking Marcus Morris out of the starting five and putting him in a bench role where he'll have to play catch-up against LeBron all night.
Perhaps fueling James' confidence, besides all his experience, is the rationalization that it would be hard for the Cavs to play much worse. The Cavs are just 5-17 ATS and 12-10 this season when losing by 10 or more their previous game. The Cavs won the series in six. That has been a rough path for Horford lately, with each of his last three playoff runs ending against James. James was taken to the locker room for examination.
Talented 20-something players Tatum, Rozier and Brown have filled the void left by injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, combining with Horford - who has been eliminated by James 4 times in the playoffs - to become a formidable force that outhustled the more experienced Cavaliers and dominated defensively. It led to one of James' easiest buckets of the game, as he blew past Baynes in isolation and scored an uncontested layup at the rim. The Boston Celtics are -1.0 over the Cavaliers in game 2. That's when he demolished the Pistons by scoring 25 consecutive points in a 109-107 double-overtime victory.
Morris had 18 points and led a swarming defensive effort that shut down James, who had been averaging 34 points in the play-offs.