With Thomas and the Celtics anxious to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1 heading back to Cleveland for Game 3 on Sunday, the Cavaliers are expecting an all-out effort at TD Garden. That is the second-longest streak for any player in history against Boston.
And because of that, the Cavaliers' defense wound up looking a lot better than it really is.
James was not expected to win despite his stellar play this season. That trophy is the highest honor in the game, because with one exception (Jerry West in 1969) it means you were the best player on the championship-winning team.
"No, I think they're too competitive for that", Rivers said. He drilled 4-6 three-pointers, several of which he launched off swaying pull-ups.
The temptation is to search for scapegoats on the Celtics, and they'd be awfully easy to find: Horford, Thomas, Bradley and Jae Crowder shot a combined 13 for 41.
While it was an all-around ugly first-half performance for Boston, Thomas particularly struggled. With home-court advantage gone, the Celtics is facing a must-win Game 2 on Friday evening.
The C's certainly weren't happy to get rocked in Game 1, and they need get and stay hungry or they'll be forced to be happy, or not, with a short series.
LeBron played all but two minutes of game one, and was such a scoring machine that he left Boston's defense helpless. At no point did they ever come close to matching the Cavs' power in what seemed like such an uneven matchup. And, as it turned out, there was something also amiss when it came to their star. "He's a very aggressive scorer, and he does a great job when teams are kind of dropping with the pull-up three, so for us, we just want to get a hard show or blitzing him, just forcing him to give the ball up and have other guys make plays".