Celtics demolished by Cavs in Game 2, 130-86

Celtics demolished by Cavs in Game 2, 130-86

BOSTON – The final shot of the first half was indicative of how the game played out.

Cleveland had a rare miss that was tracked down by J.R. Smith.

He out-hustled a couple of Celtics to the loose ball, raised up along the baseline, clearly off-balance … SWISH!

It was that kind of game for the Boston Celtics, suffering a humiliating 130-86 loss to the defending champion Cleveland Cavs.

How bad was it?

Smith’s buzzer-beating shot gave Cleveland a 72-31 lead at the half. The 41-point margin was the largest playoff deficit any team faced in the first half of a game during the modern shot clock era.

And when it came to Boston’s struggles, no one had more problems with the Cavs defense than Isaiah Thomas who missed all six of his shots in the first half with his only points coming on a pair of free throws.

Finishing with just two points, Thomas was unable to return in the second half because of a right hip injury. His status for Game 3 on Sunday is unclear.

What is clear is Boston has quite a ways to go before they can compete let alone beat the Cavaliers who are getting stronger and stronger as they now find themselves just two wins away from a return trip to the NBA Finals and a shot at repeating as NBA champions.

Boston made a lineup change prior to tip-off, with Amir Johnson out and Gerald Green in.

The Celtics had made a similar move in their first-round series against Chicago, a move that paid off with a nice five-game winning streak with Green starting.

Boston’s lineup change rendered a similar result with Cleveland dominating in every way imaginable for most of the night.

The frustration of the beatdown took its toll on several Celtics, who were treading in quicksand with one forced shot after another, clearly trying to be the spark to get them back to at least playing competitive basketball.

Thomas picked up a technical foul at the 10:48 mark of the second quarter.

And 11 seconds prior to Thomas’ technical, the usually cool-as-they-come Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was whistled for one as well.

Boston showed flashes early on that maybe just maybe, we might actually have a decent game.

The Celtics opened on the short end of a 9-2 run, only to bounce back with an 8-2 spurt fueled by back-to-back 3’s by Green. After a pair of free throws by Thomas (his only points of the game), the Cavs called a time-out with 6:35 in the first quarter, with an 11-10 lead.

Cleveland’s stoppage of play seemed to be just what the Cavs needed to re-start their dominance at both ends of the floor as they went on a 12-0 run to lead 23-10.

Boston found itself in a familiar spot against the Cavs who used a dominant first half in Game 1 to propel themselves to a 117-104 win.

The Cavs continued to pour on the points, while the Celtics were seemingly helpless to do anything about it.

And the end result was one of the most lopsided playoff games in the modern shot clock era (1954-1955).

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

CLEVELAND – They had them right where they wanted them.

LeBron James was in foul trouble.

Kyrie Irving had not yet heated up, and the lead hovered above double figures but seemed oh-so-close to creeping upwards of 20 points if the Celtics did a better job of making open shots in the first half.

Those missed shots, combined with a Kyrie Irving takeover in the third quarter, would prove to be part of the narrative for Game 4 – missed opportunities - as the Cavs rallied for a 112-99 Game 4 win.

Cleveland now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with a chance to eliminate the Celtics in Boston on Thursday and advance to the NBA Finals where a well-rested Golden State team will be awaiting them.

Irving led all scorers with a playoff career-high 42 points, 21 of which came in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Boston’s Avery Bradley had 19 points while Jae Crowder (18 points), Al Horford (16), and Kelly Olynyk (15) also finished with double figures scoring.

"He put the team on his back," said Tristan Thompson, regarding Irving's play. "He still has another gear."

Boston spent all of the fourth quarter playing from behind, failing to get that necessary made shot or defensive turnover or stop that they needed to slow down Cleveland’s growing momentum.

And with Irving making a slew of clutch baskets that put Cleveland in control, it was James’ turn to put the game away.

He did just that, finishing with 34 points which included 15 in the fourth quarter.

But for a good chunk of Tuesday’s Game 4 matchup, it looked as though the Celtics were coming back to Boston for Game 5 with the series tied up.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls … in the first half.

The fourth came when he was whistled for an offensive foul against Terry Rozier with 6:46 to play and Boston ahead by 10 points.

With James on the bench, Cleveland managed to play Boston to a standstill as the half ended with the Celtics still leading by 10 points (57-47).

Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter.

The Cavs were able to lead by as many as five points in the third quarter which ended with Cleveland ahead 87-80 as Irving scored the last 14 points for Cleveland which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that would be the final points scored in the quarter.

Cleveland’s strong finish to the third was a striking contrast to how the game began.

Boston got off to its best start in this series after a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder put the Celtics ahead 18-11.

The Celtics went ahead 22-13 after a pair of free throws by Jonas Jerebko and would eventually lead by as many as 16 points.

Meanwhile, James – the man Crowder was defending most of the time early on – had six points in the first quarter on 3-for-7 shooting.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: LeBron in foul trouble


Halftime stars, studs and duds: LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Game 4 between Boston and Cleveland in which the Celtics have a 57-47 halftime lead.



Avery Bradley

His aggressiveness at both ends of the floor has been key to Boston’s strong first half showing. He has 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

Kyrie Irving

With LeBron James in major foul trouble – he had four personal fouls in the first half – Irving was charged with picking up the slack, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.



Jae Crowder

He had the hot hand at the start of the game, and has been solid at both ends of the floor. He had 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting with four rebounds and three assists.

Kevin Love

He continues to get great looks from 3-point range, but the Celtics did a better job of limiting his long-range scoring opportunities. He had 10 points along with seven rebounds and three assists.

Kelly Olynyk

Making his first-ever playoff start, Olynyk had a solid half with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.



LeBron James

He was 5-for-9 from the field with 10 points in the first half, but spent a large chunk on the bench after being whistled for his fourth personal foul with 6:46 to play in the half.