Of the 16 teams in the NBA playoffs, it could easily be argued that the Celtics are the surprise team of the field based on pre-season expectations. Early in Sunday’s Game 1 at Quicken Loans Arena, the C’s looked as though they were going to cook up the ultimate surprise – that of a below-.500 team upsetting a LeBron James-led Cavs team in the postseason – but the Cavs wound up dominating the second and third quarters and won, 113-100, to take a 1-0 series lead.
Kyrie Irving’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer right before halftime underscored a 35-point second quarter by the Cavaliers. Irving would finish with a game-high 30 points in his first career playoff game.
“We did not do a very good job of making it difficult for them to score,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “Offensively we were good in the first half and defensively we were good in the second half. But we never really put it together.”
The Celtics raced out to a 31-27 lead after one quarter but the Cavs made a big run in the third quarter, at one point building a 19-point lead.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics in scoring, totaling 22 points off the bench in 32 minutes of action. Only Evan Turner was on the court more for the C’s as he played 34 minutes, finishing with 12 points. Kelly Olynyk had a strong game off the bench for Boston, scoring 12 points.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday (7 p.m., CSNNE).