Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Lineup change possible as LeBron, Cavs look to bounce back

Lineup change possible as LeBron, Cavs look to bounce back

In Sunday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Celtics, LeBron James had an outing to forget.

The Boston Celtics forward was faced with the daunting task of trying to slow down LeBron James in the Eastern Conference Finals, so he looked back at James' two previous series to get some tips.

Love said he thought the Cavs were a "little soft" in the first half in Game 1. Morris also added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics.

It didn't matter in a blowout win, but if the Celtics find themselves in a much tighter tilt on Tuesday, they're going to need Rozier and his fancy finger roll to keep the Cavs honest in the paint. As a team, the Cavs shot 4-of-26 from deep and finished with a putrid 86.6 defensive rating. But he said that Celtics have some very favorable matchups against the Cavaliers, especially in Al Horford, and "all basketball is about matchups". I've been down 0-2. The Cavs go as LeBron goes and LeBron had his lowest scoring game of the postseason in Monday's Game 1, scoring 15 points on 5 for 16 from the field.

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The Celtics looked really comfortable and confident in Game 1, and it's hard to figure what will change.

Nonetheless, Morris' study of James how best to defend him sets the tone for the Celtics against the Cavaliers because James is the opposition's proverbial "head of the snake". "We weighed it before the series started, but we'd won seven out of eight and we weren't going to adjust until someone beat us and we didn't play well with that lineup that got us to this point". But starters Thompson, JR Smith and George Hill combined for just 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting.

"I was able to learn a lot from some great players - Tim (Duncan), Tony (Parker), Manu (Ginobili) and Boris (Diaw)", Baynes said.

Marcus Smart has an uncanny ability to fight through picks and stay attached to the offensive player's body, while Jaylen Brown's athleticism and length allow him a greater margin for error.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the Eastern Conference finals with a 9-3 record against the Celtics in games played at the Garden over the last four years, including six straight wins. In Game 2, James was all but unstoppable as he replied with a 46-point, 12-rebound performance. If Morris can even go close to repeating his Game 1 performance, Cleveland don't stand a chance, but if LeBron can step up in a big way, the series could easily be tied heading back to Ohio. "I think that Coach [Brad Stevens] kinda has to determine that", said Horford. The Celtics got off to a hot start in game 1 and used a 17-0 first quarter run to distance themselves from the Cavaliers. "He's going to approach this game as one where he's going to have to lead and bounce back". But Boston made the first three baskets in the fourth and, after running off nine in a row to make it 96-68 with 7:09 left, the Cavs conceded.

"What happened? The first possession, we ran them down all the way to two on the shot clock, Marcus Morris missed the jump shot, followed it up, they got a dunk", he said, per USA Today. "As role players, we've got to play our role".

Though he and Embiid are very different players, James can still teach the young center how to better handle the media.

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