Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers

Game 2 preview: LeBron James, Cavs look to bounce back from Game 1 letdown

lebron-james-marcus-morris-051518-ftr
Cavs forward LeBron James and Celtics forward Marcus Morris (Getty Images)

No. 2 Celtics vs. No. 4 Cavs - Boston leads 1-0

Boston will attempt to build on the momentum from its 25-point Game 1 win to take a 2-0 series lead over last year's Eastern Conference champs.

Led by Jaylen Brown's 23 points (9-of-16 shooting), the Celtics shot 51.2 percent from the field and assisted on 27 of their 43 field goals. Brown was inserted back into Boston's starting lineup after a hamstring injury reduced his role in the second round.

Each member of the Celtics' starting unit made big contributions on the offensive end. Marcus Morris finished with a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Al Horford scored 20 points, while rookie Jayson Tatum added 16 points and Terry Rozier dished out a team-high eight assists.

Both Aron Baynes (four points, eight rebounds) and Marcus Smart (nine points, six assists) sparked the Celtics' second unit, which outplayed the Cavs' reserves. The play of the Celtics' bench and another productive outing from Horford will be the key to another victory. Boston is 5-0 this postseason when its All-Star center scores 20 or more points.

On the heels of one of its worst shooting performances of the year, Cleveland hopes to bounce back in a major way to tie the series.

In Game 1, the Celtics' team defense made things difficult for the Cavs, limiting Cleveland to 36 percent shooting from the field and 15.4 percent from deep. That 4-of-26 3-point nightmare matched a season-low output. The Cavs failed to connect on a 3-pointer in the first half for the first time this season and trailed 61-35 heading into the locker room.

Boston threw a number of defenders on LeBron James, who finished with 15 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and seven of Cleveland's nine turnovers. It was James' lowest point total in a postseason game in three years. Most NBA fans and media members (as well as Celtics head coach Brad Stevens) expect James to improve greatly in Game 2.

All-Star forward Kevin Love led the Cavs with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting in Game 1, and Tristan Thompson contributed eight points and 11 rebounds (four offensive) off the bench in the loss.

The Cavs may start Thompson in Game 2 to try to neutralize Horford and get off to a more energetic start. In order to head back to Cleveland tied 1-1, LeBron must deliver a much better performance, and the Cavs must shoot better as a team.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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