BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics completely dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, thumping LeBron James and company with a 108-83 victory.
The C’s will look to take a 2-0 lead in the series on Tuesday night at TD Garden, a game that Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell says is the most important contest of the set.
“The winner of Game 2 is going to win the series,” Maxwell told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton on Sunday night’s Sports Final. “That’s how it happened [last series] when they played Philly. That’s going to be the important game of the series. If you’re Cleveland, you cant go home down 2-0. If you’re Boston, as well as you played, you can’t go to Cleveland 1-1.”
Maxwell said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had a great game plan for Game 1 and kept the ball out of James’ hands, forcing other Cavaliers players to beat them. That didn’t happen, as the Celtics held Cleveland to just 36 shooting from the floor. James scored a playoff-low 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
Max said LeBron is going to come out swinging in Game 2, and the Celtics have to be cautious about not over-defended his aggressiveness.
“He’s going to be aggressive, try to take the ball to the hole, he’s going to try to pick up fouls — whatever he can to push the buttons on this team to get them to the next level,” said Max. “You don’t over-defend it. Don’t send two or three guys. Great players are going to score their points. If LeBron scores 50 and they lose by 10 or 5, you’ve accomplished what you want to do. You cannot let the Kevin Loves or the J.R. Smiths [beat you]. Those are the guys who are going to win the series.”
Check out the full chat in the video above as Max breaks down Boston’s Game 1 win, discusses the emergence of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and the all-around play from Al Horford. Tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday night on at 11:35pm on WBZ-TV!