BOSTON (CBS) – 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich talked to the radio voice of the Celtics, Sean Grande, on Monday morning following the team’s 113-100 loss to Cleveland in Game 1 of the opening round series.
Entering Sunday, no Boston Celtic had more than 31 playoff starts. That player would be Brandon Bass, and Avery Bradley is second on the team with 16. But the Cavaliers aren’t loaded with playoff experience either. Besides LeBron James, a lot of the impact players on the Cavaliers haven’t tasted the postseason, like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love just to name a few.
Sean Grande was not impressed with Kevin Love on Sunday.
“Yesterday was an interesting Kevin Love day, because he was terrible. In the first half he really was. It was the first playoff game for a lot of people. That’s going to affect you. I don’t think this has been an ideal situation for him,” said Grande. “Here’s a great example: Ray Allen went from being the man for 10 years on whatever team he was on, and he had to acclimate right away to being the third guy [in the Celtics’ big three]. It wasn’t necessarily easy for him but he was able to do it. I think Kevin Love has struggled with that.”
Despite his poor shooting effort (5-for-14), Kevin Love and Cleveland’s other big men were able to impact the game with their length and size. Boston was out-rebounded 46 to 34, including 15 to 7 on the offensive glass.
If size is going to be a major factor in this series, Boston has to come up with a solution. Grande thinks he has one, and that is doing a better job of rotating. Brad Stevens’ game plan to stop LeBron in the early going was simple: as soon as he gets the ball in his hands, throw a second guy at him to guard him immediately.
Often times that second guy was Tyler Zeller, who had to leave his post to help with LeBron. When that happens, underneath the basket is wide open and that’s why Cleveland was able to grab so many offensive boards. When Zeller leaves his post, Boston will need another person to rotate down to be there for the rebound.
“This is what happens when you face a team that’s better than you at so many positions. There’s going to be something that’s going to fall through. I go back to a thing like the turnovers. The unforced errors can’t happen to beat Cleveland once, let alone four times. [Celtics] are going to have to play nearly a perfect game to beat [Cleveland],” said Grande.
Listen below for the full game recap:
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