May 22, 2018
Game 2 in Boston began with a starting lineup change for the Cavaliers as Tristan Thompson received the nod from Tyron Lue. The starting minutes were exciting and the Cavaliers looked to finally be the team we saw in much of the last series. It was apparent early what Tristan Thompson can bring to the game as he hustled for offensive rebounds and played energetic defense. The Cavs as a whole wanted to establish a certain aggressiveness early within the paint, while LeBron was aggressive from everywhere, making four threes within the first 10 minutes of the game. Lebron, on the other hand, was nothing like the player he was in the previous game of the series. He came to play and scored 21 points by the start of the second quarter, which top his point of the entire game one. Kevin actually played more aggressive in the paint than the previous game and did this by cutting and finishing at the basket but didn’t look to establish himself in one on one play like an all-star should. But the Celtics also came out with something to prove, which led them to remain unafraid and confident. Al Horford also began hot, which was just a continuation of his play in game one. The Celtics held strong, as the Cavs looked to be unstoppable to start. It was all about weathering the storm for the Boston Celtics the first half. While Horford dominated the first quarter, Jayson Tatum began to heat up in the second. The second half is when the Celtics began to gain momentum, but with play from the frontcourt of the Cavs, manned by Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, helped maintain a lead for most of the third quarter. It was not until the role players for the Celtics stepped their game up and started playing with the same confidence as their stars that we saw a shift in momentum and control of the game. Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris started playing very well, both with emotion and intelligence, and with this energy helped the Celtics expand their lead to double digits by the mid-point in the 4th quarter. It was hustle and determination the Celtics played with all night that allowed them to go up against the Cavs. The controversial JR smith Al Horford push made things interesting, but this also seemed spark Al Horford to finish the game himself. He came up big in the 4thas well as the entire game, and the Celtics were able to pull away to a 107-94 win against the Cavaliers to go up 2-0 on LeBron and company.
A 40-point triple is a feat that many cannot accomplish in the NBA, and although Lebron filled the stat sheet, his inconsistent focus in the game may be a reason for the current losing streak. The best player in the world can not turn the ball over six times because he must lead by example. The Cavaliers had 15 turnovers while the Celtics had just five. We can also look at the plus minus statistic, one I usually do not look much into but it explains this game very well, in which only two players from the Cavs had positive rating (Jose Calderon and Cedi Osman) in which was only +1 in two minutes of play. On the other hand, The Celtics had ZERO players with a negative plus minus rating, and this just goes to show hustle and dedication of each player dominating for four quarters. It was not the field goal attempts or percentage, three-point attempts or percentage, or rebounding because both team were virtually the same, it was polished play versus sloppy play, and no matter who is on your team, you will not win against a good team if you’re not playing to your full capability.
The Cavaliers will clean their play at home and will score over 110 points in the process which should easily handle a very hot Celtics team in Game 3. We should expect big games from Kyle Korver, Kevin Love, and JR Smith, but I think we will see Jordan Clarkson explosion, in which he will receive more time and will contribute both offensively and defensively.
Game 3 will be played in Cleveland on Saturday May 19, 2018 on ESPN at 8:30pm. Will the Cavaliers put a screeching halt to the growing thoughts of a sweep or will Boston Celtics position themselves to be in one game of the 2018 NBA Finals?
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