Full Highlights: Cavs win 5th straight behind big performances from Big Three; 128-120
Coming off a tough back-to-back in which they lost swingman Jae Crowder to an ankle injury, the Celtics felt the full wrath of a rested Cavaliers team as they sprinted out of the gate. Kyrie Irving picked up where he left off with a quick seven points in the first quarter, and LeBron James was setting the table early with 5 first quarter assists. Tristan Thompson was also dominant early, he had eight points and 10 boards in the first quarter alone. Cavs up 36-25 after one.
The second period was much like the first, with the Cavs running and controlling the game in the open floor. The Celtics couldn’t handle the Cavs in transition, and Tristan Thompson continued his assault on the rim and the glass. Kyrie poured on another eight points, Iman Shumpert chipped in with 10, and LeBron added another three assists to his growing total as the Cavs go up 68-51 at halftime. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Thompson has destroyed them on the boards in past encounters, and he had no answer for Tristan this time around also. He finished the half with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds along with two blocks.
After the break, the third quarter belonged to LeBron James. Facilitating for his teammates in the first half, LeBron went on a scoring mission in the third period. He came out of the locker room super aggressive, and the Celtics had to simply stop and watch the king go to work. He wanted the Cavs to keep their supremacy in the contest, and did just that. LeBron had 20 of his 30 points in the third period alone, which saw the Cavaliers hold a healthy 100-83 advantage after three.
The young and hungry Boston outfit wasn’t going to go down without a fight, and to their credit, they never stopped playing and got right back into the contest. They showed a lot of fight, and as Avery Bradley and athletic young gun Jaylen Brown got going, the Celtics all of a sudden found themselves within five. As a result, LeBron had to then re-enter the game along with all the starters to ensure victory. They executed plays down the stretch and that five point advantaged ballooned quickly again to end the game. Cavs come away victorious 128-122.
LeBron James was excellent on the night and finishes just two points shy of passing Hakeem Olajuwon for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The big three combine for 79 points and the Cavaliers stay perfect, moving to 5-0 on the season. It is the best start to an NBA season in franchise history for 40 years, since Campy Russell and the crew went 8-0 in the 1976/1977 campaign.
James finished with 30 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists, and a steal. Love put in 26 points, eight rebounds, and two blocked shots. Irving added 23 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Tristan Thompson also had a stellar game with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. Iman Shumpert added 15 off the bench with a pair of three-pointers and Channing Frye put in 11 with three triples.