Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Celtics' Stevens expects swift counterpunch from LeBron James

Celtics' Stevens expects swift counterpunch from LeBron James

It's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers and temperatures are flaring early. The Celtics took control of the game with a 17-0 run midway through the first quarter and the Cavs were never really able to get back into the game.

James bounced back from his sub-par game-one performance in a big way. Tatum ended up turning it on, but LeBron clearly had the better game.

Jayson Tatum only scored 11 points in the game, but 9 of those points came in a key stretch in the second quarter.

Should a concussion be determined, James would have to take part in the league's concussion protocol before he could be cleared to play in Game 3 of the series. In fact, the Celtics first debuted the special graphic near their bench in November 2007, just over a year after the Hall of Fame coach died in October 2006.

And judging the way that the Celtics beat up on the Cavs in Game 1, some would argue that Auerbach's spirit was with them on Sunday, too.

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In the postgame press conference, James was asked what happened during the Celtics' initial spurt.

Kevin Love finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland. He scorched the net to a tune of 21 points and four made 3's, including an expiring-shotclock turnaround fadeaway 3 with Marcus Smart draped all over him.

Love said he thought the Cavs were a "little soft" in the first half in Game 1.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Cleveland. Getting tougher could mean a lineup change for the Cavaliers. "We're just trying to get the win".

As expected, Tristan Thompson started in place of Kyle Korver in the hopes his presence could energize what was a sluggish Cavs offense in Game 1. It will be a different environment out in Cleveland; we will have to wait and see if the Cavs fans can match Beantown's energy and passion.

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At this point, there is no doubt who the better team is in this matchup.

"We just can't allow that to keep happening", Smart said.

Horford said that, if anything, Smith's infraction only sharpened the Celtics' focus.

"At the end of the day, when you're a basketball player, you step out there between the lines, you've got a job to do, you've prepared well to do that and you just go play". Well, the Celtics took the world's best player's best punch, a punch that would've knocked nearly anybody else out, and yet there they were, right in the middle of the ring, still standing.

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