Celtics dominate Cavaliers by 25 points in Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals

The Cleveland Cavaliers who dominated in the four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals last week didn’t show up Sunday afternoon.

Not even close.

The Boston Celtics dominated in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on Sunday, beating the Cavaliers 108-83 to take the early series lead.

Boston’s early lock-down defense

From the opening tip — which resulted in an easy Jaylen Brown layup just seconds into the game — the Celtics were in control.

By the midway point in the opening quarter, Boston had only given up seven points. After the opening period, the Cavaliers had only scored 18 points. The second quarter went the same way, with Boston only giving up 17 points — paving the way for its offense to take off.

Brown dropped 13 points in the opening quarter, leading the Celtics to an 18-point lead after 12 minutes.


By halftime, the Boston had built up a 26-point lead, and all signs pointed to an easy first round win for the Celtics.

Cleveland’s 3rd quarter run

LeBron James and the Cavaliers didn’t take that first half beating laying down.

They came out of the locker room on fire, putting up 29 points in the third quarter — just six points shy of what they scored in the entire first half — to cut the 28-point lead Boston had built up in half.

Yet that stretch was short-lived. The Celtics opened up the fourth quarter with a quick 7-0 run to retake control of the game.


The Celtics kept it going, too, mounting an 18-4 run to extend their lead to 28 points again. From there, it was an easy rise for the Celtics through the end of the game to the 25-point win.

Boston’s balanced box score

The Celtics’ final offensive box score on Sunday afternoon was about as balanced as they could have asked for.

Brown led Boston with 23 points and eight rebounds, shooting 9-of-16 from the field. Marcus Morris — who made his first postseason start on Sunday — had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Al Horford added 20 points, and Jayson Tatum finished with 16.

Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 17 points and eight rebounds. James finished with 15 points, shooting just 5-of-16 from the field. Their other three starters combined for just 14 points.

Perhaps Boston’s best stat of the night, though, came on the defensive end. The Cavaliers shot just 36 percent from the field, and went 4-of-26 from behind the arc. Boston also forced nine turnovers — seven of which came from James.

The Celtics will host the Cavaliers again for Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night.

The Boston Celtics dominated on Sunday afternoon, cruising to a 25-point win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. (Getty Images)
The Boston Celtics dominated on Sunday afternoon, cruising to a 25-point win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. (Getty Images)

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