View from Pluto: Cavs, LeBron Dominate the Celtics in Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals

May 18, 2017

The Cavs dominated the Boston Celtics last night, beating them 117-104 in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says Cleveland did exactly what it needed to do in Boston. 

"The Cavs completely dominated early and totally took out Isaiah Thomas, who is Boston’s 5’9 guard, took him right out of the game. I think he was like 3-of-11 shooting in the first half, and he just looked worn down and confused. It was just a force.  A completely dominating performance by the Cavs."

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket during the game against the Boston Celtics during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Credit Brian Babineau / NBAE via Getty Images

On a New Level
During the regular season, the Cavs had trouble with defense. Pluto says that had him worrying whether Cleveland would do well during the playoffs. That worry has faded.

“When this team sets its mind, it really can defend. And when it defends and rebounds, that was another factor. The Cavs have a huge advantage on the boards there," Pluto said. "They’re a bigger and taller team."

LeBron James and Kevin Love played big in the win; James scored 38 points with seven assists, and Love had 12 rebounds. Pluto says it’s as if James has reached a whole different level in his All-Star career.

"The Cavs did immediately in that game what you needed to do when playing in Boston and facing the Celtic team riding the high . ... LeBron James looked around at the arena and all the green, and just kept driving to the basket and really imposed his will on the game.

"Think about this: At the end of the first quarter, the score was Cleveland 30, Boston 19. LeBron had 15 points and the entire Celtic team had 19 points. At the end of the quarter they had already put four different players on him. They were unable to stop him.

"He took seven shots, he made seven shots. Six of them were driving to the basket, and you could see the look in their eyes, that ‘Oh are we in trouble here in Boston’ (look) from the local fans and the team."

The Cavs will take on the Celtics in Game 2 at Boston Friday, and will travel back to Cleveland to play Game 3 on Sunday.