The Cavs stayed undefeated, holding off a scrappy Boston Celtics team by a score of 128-122 at Quicken Loans Arena. LeBron James lead the way for the Cavs with 30 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. Isaiah Thomas was Boston’s leading scorer with 30.
Thoughts from tonight’s victory over the Celtics
- LeBron James can still lead a team offensively. James had 20 points alone in the 3rd quarter, en-route to 30 points. This was different from the first four games of the season where Kyrie Irving was the leading scorer for the Cavs.
- Kyrie Irving isn’t in his prime yet, but it’s going to be extremely fun to watch when he finally is. Irving has an outstanding ability as a pure scorer and ball handler, but that is already common knowledge. Aside from being the best below-the-rim finisher in the league, he continues to shoot extremely well from the perimeter. The Cavaliers continuing to put the scoring onus on him will be good for this team, his development, and keeping James fresh late in the season.
- This game very well could have been a playoff preview for an Eastern Conference Semi-Finals matchup in early May. The Celtics did match up with Cleveland in 2015 where they were promptly dismissed in four games. The Celtics simply did not have enough firepower to hand the Cavaliers their first loss of the season, however they did hang around. Boston was without newly acquired Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (sprained ankle) and also playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
- The Celtics showed more fight than some, including myself, probably expected tonight. This was highlighted by a 14-4 run midway through the 4th quarter to prompt a Cavaliers’ timeout and summon James off the bench. That run cut Cleveland’s lead to seven with around seven minutes left.
- Jaylen Brown of the Celtics has a tremendous amount of talent and potential. He was tasked with squaring up with James for much of the game and certainly did not back down. Brown was more successful offensively than he was defensively against James, although he did hold his own on the defensive end at times. Brown did hit a few big shots in the 4th quarter, including one from deep to cut Cleveland’s lead to six.
- When James is hitting from the outside, he is nearly unstoppable. Since Game 5 of last season’s NBA Finals, James has been able to find his mid-range and outside shot better. With him hitting those consistently it makes keeping him in check an even taller task for defenders. This is most notable with defenders choosing to go under pick and rolls when James has the ball.
- The Kardashian curse hasn’t hit this team, yet. Here at Burning River Basketball you can expect us to monitor things just like this. Tristan Thompson had a very good game finishing with 15 points and 14 boards.
- Yet again, Irving, James, and Kevin Love all topped the 20-point mark on the night. This may become a trend for the Cavs. When Irving, James, and Love all top 20, the Cavs are nearly impossible to beat.
- The Celtics give max effort, night in and night out. There are often nights throughout the NBA season when teams are not fully engaged. This happens all the time in Cleveland, although it seems a rarity for the Boston. Tonight’s game in Cleveland would’ve been a prime time for them to not give max effort due to being on the second night of a back-to-back and missing a couple key pieced. Kudos to Brad Stevens for being able to get his team up for each game.