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|BOSTON — LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers know they have to be better in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
The Boston Celtics appear ready for just that.
“I thought our guys played with a good aggression tonight. Going to have to play better Tuesday Mark Walton Color Rush Jersey ,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the 108-83 rout in the series opener — a game blown open in the first quarter.
“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” James said after the Celtics blew the Cavs out in the opening game — a rare poor playoff outing for James. “I didn’t go to college, so it’s not March Madness.”
Translation: one win does not a series make.
The Celtics, who keep handling every situation thrown at them regardless of who might be available to play, know what they are likely to be up against in Game 2. <
Boston is 8-0 at home in these playoffs.
Before Sunday’s game, a video on the big board highlighted “experts” doubting these Celtics in the postseason. After all, there’s no Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward, with valuable rookie bench center Daniel Theis also gone.
“I would say it has (driven them),” said Marcus Morris, one of the guys who made life miserable for James in Game 1. “It gave other guys opportunity to step up. It’s very unfortunate that we had those injuries, but no one is going to feel sorry for us at the end of the day, so we have to take our approach of next guy up.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all season.”
If you need evidence of Boston’s team effort leading to the 9-4 playoff record, here it is: Jayson Tatum leads the team at 18.6 points per game Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey , but Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier are both at 17.4, Al Horford at 17.2, Morris 12.9 and Marcus Smart 10.4.
That is balance, meaning they don’t have to rely on one or two players — as Cleveland does with James and Kevin Love.
“We’ve got to help ‘Bron,” JR Smith said after the opener. “We can’t just expect him to do everything. As role players, we’ve got to play our role.”
James came in averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game in the playoffs but was lifted with 7:10 left in the blowout. He was 5 of 16 from the floor and had seven of his team’s 10 turnovers in his 15-point game.
The Cavs missed their first 14 3-pointers and finished 4 of 26 from behind the arc.
“Three-point shot is a part of our DNA,” James said. “It’s what makes us the best team that we can be. I think even early on with the shots that we had, we had some wide-open looks that just didn’t go. I think in the first quarter, J.R. and Kev, (George Hill), they had some great looks, they just didn’t go.
“We’re OK with that. We’re absolutely OK with that. And we’re going to take those same looks going into Game 2 if the opportunity presents itself.”
The Cavaliers Justus Annunen Blackhawks Jersey , coming off a layoff that followed a four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors, offered little resistance in the opener. They missed their shots, lost their men on defense and allowed a whopping 60 points in the paint.
“You definitely have to adjust. That’s what part of the playoff series is about,” James said. “The teams adjusting from game to game and seeing ways you can be better. I think that’s an obvious question.”
The Celtics have taken 2-0 leads in both of their previous series and, even though they needed seven games to dispose of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, they can rely on the franchise being 37-0 all time when taking a 2-0 lead in a series.
But that’s history, and this edition of the proud franchise is clearly more about the present.
“I think we’re very alert to the fact that we’ll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night,” Stevens said.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue indicated Monday that he may insert Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup in a bid to neutralize Al Horford, one of several Celtics to dominate in Game 1.
“He’s our rock,” Stevens said of Horford, who has also averaged 8.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game in the playoffs. “He’s the guy we really Leighton Vander Esch Color Rush Jersey , really lean on.”
Thompson, who played well and had eight points and 11 rebounds in less than 21 minutes in the opener, issued a bit of a warning on behalf of James, saying, “Usually when LeBron has these kind of games, the next game he does something legendary.”
Much to his surprise, a $50 act of kindness made Arizona Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham an internet hero. ”It was crazy,” he said after the Cardinals went through voluntary workouts Tuesday. ”I really wasn’t expecting it.”
It all started when Gresham was standing in line behind Delilah Cassidy at an American Airlines gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
He could hear her being told that under the airline’s policy, she had to pay $25 for each of two carry-ons that wouldn’t fit under her seat. She had cash but it wasn’t accepted at the gate so she was in danger of missing her flight. So Gresham pulled out his credit card and paid, a random act of kindness.
”That’s pretty much what it was,” he said. ”I hope anyone would have done that. I don’t know. I just felt that’s how I was raised, my core values. Somebody in distress, just help them out. Nothing more Su'a Cravens Color Rush Jersey , nothing less.”
To say Cassidy was grateful is an understatement.
”She was very nice,” Gresham said. ”She was very, very, very appreciative. She thanked me I want to say maybe 20 times.”
She told azcentral.com that she was in tears as she boarded the plane.
”I gave him this huge hug,” she said. ”I was crying into Jermaine Gresham. I didn’t know it was him.”
Cassidy said that when they landed, she offered to pay him in cash but he declined and told her to pay it forward.
She had her photo taken with Gresham and told her story on Twitter.
It went viral.
Gresham had no idea until he heard from a Cardinals employee who follows such things.
”He said, `You’re a viral sensation,’ I said, `For what? I didn’t get arrested,”’ Gresham said. ”He sent me this picture and everything and I was like, `Oh, wow.”’
He seemed surprised that what he considered a small gesture wound up being such a big deal.
”I was right there,” he said. ”I had my wallet in my pocket. Just here http://www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-taven-bryan-jersey , swipe my card. It’s 50 bucks. Catch your flight. There wasn’t much to it.”
Gresham, who is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, said he made a great investment.
”I hope everybody in the world would do something like that,” Gresham said. ”Seeing her smile and her appreciation was worth it 10 times over.”
Of course he couldn’t escape some gentle ribbing from teammates.
”That’s the Walter Payton Man of the Year right there,” offensive tackle D.J. Humphries said as he walked by.
KIRK SPEAKS: Rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk spoke to reporters for the first time since reports surfaced of his Feb. 3 arrest outside the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament on charges of destruction of property and disorderly conduct. He and a friend had been accused of throwing rocks at cars. Police said Kirk appeared intoxicated at the time.
The charges were later dropped.
”Obviously there was a negative response to it,” Kirk, a second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M, said of the publicity surrounding the incident. ”But you’ve just got to block those things out and hold true to who you are and move on.”
Kirk was a top high school prospect born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Cardinals said they knew of the arrest when they drafted him but said they were confident it was not indicative of a larger problem.
”I told them the truth and they trusted in me, trusted in the type of person I was,” he said.
Now it’s back to football on a team where he figures to play a significant role.
”I’m just really happy it’s all cleared up,” Kirk said. ”I’m just glad to be back and showing people I am what I am.”