The Celtics, who lost the first two games of their first-round series with the Chicago Bulls at home, had won five straight at home since then before losing the opener of this series.
The Cavaliers scored the game's first six points and cruised to their 10th straight win in these playoffs after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round and the Toronto Raptors in the conference semifinals.
A loss on Friday would also leave the Celtics with the formidable proposition of having to win four out of five games to take the Eastern Conference Finals - a almost impossible duty against the Cavaliers that since LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014-15 season has a 33-4 postseason record against the Eastern Conference teams.
Oh, and there's extra motivation for Cleveland - now 9-0 in these playoffs - which could earn another long rest if it makes quick work of the Celtics. Thomas also was defended well as he produced only 17 points though he had 10 assists. Game 1 showed, as we already probably already knew, that a lot has to go right for the Celtics to win.
"We got the shots we wanted on the offensive end nearly all of the first half", Thomas said, noting the Cavs were rested while his team had just come off a seven-game series with the Washington Wizards.
"He was pretty despondent not to be able to play", Stevens said".
Celtics vs Cavaliers Game 2 is televised on TNT.
Jaylen Brown came off the bench to lead the Celtics with 19 points, Avery Bradley scored 13, while Al Horford chipped in with 11 points.
The game tipped off about 15 minutes after the three finalists for NBA MVP were announced, and James wasn't among them. "But to me, LeBron's the MVP". "I mean, he obviously doesn't know where he's going, but ... he's excited about the opportunity". James has scored 30 points in seven straight games as he looks to visit the finals for the seventh straight season.
Even if the Celtics can figure out how to improve on the glass or get Isaiah Thomas warmed up, they still don't have an answer for the King - and if Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith or Channing Frye start heating up from outside, that task will get even tougher.
This one more like rubbing the Celtics' noses in the fact that they just couldn't stop him. "We want to let everybody in this world know that we're for real, and we're one of the top teams in the National Basketball Association, and with this series we've got to go out and show the world because like everybody knows, everybody is counting us out, and we've been there before, though, so it's nothing new for us". "It's definitely a low point for our group". Containing James is a must and at the same time they are playing great in the offense.
Celtics: Celtics coach Brad Stevens started Gerald Green in place of Amir Johnson. The Celtics' own the Nets' first-round pick next year, too, and barring a rapid revival in Brooklyn, that could be the No. 1 again.