The Cavaliers were -1.5 point favorites on the road for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston, taking on a Celtics team that has been undervalued by many throughout the postseason. Boston managed to cover by a cool 26.5 points, dominating Cleveland from the jump in a 108-83 win behind some stifling defense and balanced offensive attack.
It didn’t take the Celtics long to figure out the Cavaliers’ defense has some holes and they attacked those early and often, getting to the rim nearly at will. Al Horford had a big start to the game, giving Kevin Love the business in the first half in the paint before Cleveland recognized the need to insert Tristan Thompson in the game to give them a stronger physical presence in the paint.
Once Thompson entered, the weakness for the Cavs’ defense was in their constant switching, so they attacked them in pick-and-roll and found mismatches, particularly with Jaylen Brown having a big first quarter, scoring 13 of his 23 points in the opening period.