The Celtics captured Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday with a 108-83 win over the Cavaliers.
Boston got off to a hot start, outscoring Cleveland 36-18 in the first quarter, and never looked back. The Celtics led the Cavaliers 61-35 at halftime, marking the largest deficit a LeBron James team has ever faced in a playoff game.
Here are three takeaways from Boston's Game 1 win...
1. Jaylen Brown has emerged - When the Celtics selected Brown No. 3 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, many wondered how long it would take for him to make an impact. Known as an intelligent player with a high motor, Brown struggled to shoot and score at California.
But that hasn't stopped the second-year pro from quickly becoming one of the brightest young stars in the league. Brown continued his dominant postseason by scoring 23 points with eight rebounds Sunday. He has also become an athletic, lockdown defender. It's only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.
Jaylen Brown fires and has 23 in the game!#CUsRise 75 | #WhateverItTakes 55- NBA (@NBA) May 13, 2018
📺" #NBAonABC pic.twitter.com/b8Domc3ipL
2. The Cavaliers were left on autopilot - Someone should have reminded Cleveland that its sweep over the Raptors wasn't the end of the road this postseason. After a long layoff, the Cavaliers looked to be sleepwalking Sunday while shooting just 36.5 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from 3-point range.
The Cavaliers fell behind by 18 after the first quarter and trailed by around 20 most of the game. LeBron James finished with 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and Kevin Love added 17 points, but someone needs to wake this team up.
3. Defense, team offense still a thing - The Celtics were among the NBA leaders in team defense all season. Head coach Brad Stevens was a defensive savant while raising Butler's basketball program to a new level, and he has used that same focus to string wins together in Boston.
The Celtics also run a lot of offensive sets. Sure, they still use isolation offense, but their ball movement creates spacing. Boston had four players score at least 16 points. Despite a number of key injuries, this well-oiled machine keeps plugging along.