LeBron James lit up Boston’s TD Garden with a stellar display as the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Celtics 130-86 to race to a 2-0 lead in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Friday.
James racked up 30 points, four rebounds and seven assists before he was withdrawn at the end of the third quarter but the game was over as a contest long before his departure as the Cavs took a tight hold on the best-of-seven series.
The reigning NBA champions poured in 72 first-half points to lead Boston by 41 at the intermission, the biggest post-season halftime lead since the shot clock was introduced.
“He’s playing at an unbelievable level. He’s really setting the tone for us early in the games,” Cavs coach Tyrone Lue told reporters.
“He’s able to get out in transition, getting to the basket, and when he’s getting his three-point shot, you’re in for a long night.”
The Celtics had no answer to James, who amassed 22 in the first half, driving when the lanes were open and dropping jump shots when they were not.
On the defensive end, he had four steals and three blocks
“When we’re blitzing and rotating and scrambling, he’s the best we can have on the back line,” Lue explained.
“His chase-down blocks, the one he had on Avery (Bradley) was unbelievable. They’re game-changers for us.”
Kevin Love chipped in with 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Cavs secured a 10th straight post-season win, and there appears little to suggest the Celtics can find a way to stop them when the series shifts to Cleveland for Game Three on Sunday.