The Eastern Conference finals did not start off the way many expected. The Celtics came out on fire while the Cavaliers sluggishly moved through the early portions of the game. The Cavs continuously failed to hit shots thanks to Boston's stifling defensive performance, and eventually the Celtics' lead grew to an insurmountable level.
The Cavs made a push in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14 points and maybe give themselves a chance, but that didn't last long. The Celtics started off the fourth quarter with another quick haymaker and put the Cavs down for good. The Celtics secured a 108-83 win to take a 1-0 series lead.
Game 1: Celtics 108, Cavaliers 83 (box score)
Al Horford was a huge part of why the Celtics were able to handle the Cavs so easily in Game 1. The Boston big man has traditionally struggled against the Cavs, but he had no issues in this one. He dominated his way to 20 points, four rebounds and six assists. His inside presence was felt the entire game.
Jaylen Brown was just as incredible. The second-year wing has stepped up the entire playoffs and has even been playing through a nagging hamstring injury. He was a nuisance on defense and an endless source of energy on offense that the Cavs had no answer for. He scored 23 points himself and pulled down eight rebounds.
Everybody in Boston knew Jayson Tatum has the potential to be a great player one day, but even his biggest supporters couldn't have expected this from him. The playoffs haven't fazed him one bit and he was the one that delivered the dagger in Game 1.
One player that talked a lot before the series was Marcus Morris, after declaring he was the best LeBron James defender in the NBA outside of Kawhi Leonard. While there was an obvious team effort on the defensive side of things, James only finished with 15 points on 16 shots. Maybe it's time to give Morris some more credit.
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