The Cleveland Cavaliers overcame an eight point first quarter deficit for the second game in a row and relied on their leader LeBron James to take a commanding two games to none series lead with a 99-91 game two victory over the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night.
James lead all scorers with 30 points (15 coming in the 4th quarter) nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. Kyrie Irving finished with 26 points (nine in the 4th quarter.) James and Irving accounted for all 24 points the Cavs scored in the 4th quarter. The duo outscored the Celtics team 24-23 to close out the victory. LeBron and Kyrie also teamed up for the play of the game in the third quarter on a lob pass from Irving to James for the slam.
Kevin Love came out aggressive to start the game by connecting on the first basket of the night, a three pointer, but foul trouble throughout the game slowed down Love’s effectiveness. Love finished with 13 points on three of eight shooting with six rebounds. Love’s other highlight of the night came in the third quarter with a reverse over the head alley oop slam from James.
Timofey Mozgov played big inside on both ends of the floor. The Cavs center shot seven of eleven from the field with a couple of dunks for 16 points with seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
It was a tough shooting night for J.R. Smith but he contributed in other ways in the victory. Smith started the game by missing his first four shots from three point range, finishing just three of 12 from the field (1 of 8 in three pointers) for seven points. Smith was a key on defense with a game five steals.
Offensively the Cavaliers bench wasn’t much of a factor, Iman Shumpert with two points and Matthew Dellavedova with five points were the only members of the bench bunch to score in the game. Noticeably missing in the scoring column was Tristan Thompson, but he was a huge factor on the glass. Thompson had a team high eleven rebounds, five on the offensive end including two in the final two minutes to all but end any chances of a late Celtics rally.
For the second straight game, Isaiah Thomas lead the Celtics in scoring. Thomas finished with 22 points off the bench. Former Ohio State Buckeye forward Jared Sullinger had 14 points. Sullinger’s fellow Buckeye alum Evan Turner had nine points and a game high 12 rebounds
The Cavaliers made only seven of 29 shots from three point range but were 24 of 26 from the free throw line.
The series shifts to Boston for game three on Thursday night. In the history of the NBA playoffs, the team that leads a best of seven series two games to none wins the series 94 percent of the time.