The NBA’s defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers dismantled the No. 1 seeded Boston Celtics inside TD Garden Wednesday night with a 117-104 wire-to-wire victory, giving them a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With such a big gap in the score, the game was a bit chippy at times. After all, there is some bad blood between the Cavs and Celtics. Most NBA fans will remember the now-infamous play in the 2015 playoffs, when Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk dislocated Kevin Love‘s shoulder. There were more than some who viewed that play as “dirty.”
“For them to come out swinging, playing scrappy like they do,” Smith responded when asked how he expects Boston to play in Game 2. “They’ve been playing like that all year. Whenever their backs are up against the wall, they tend to play better, just like we do. So we just got to expect that and understand there might be dirty plays, might be cheap shots coming from the other side just because they are fighting for their lives at this point. So we just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Game 2 is scheduled to tip at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, right back inside TD Garden. Will the champs continue to assert their dominance and win a franchise-record 13th straight playoff game? Will the Celtics play dirty? Whatever the case, it seems the ability to control emotions will play a key role.