The Cleveland Cavaliers and their iconic star LeBron James faced the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2018 NBA Finals. The Celtics, at home for the first two games of the series, jumped out to an early 20-point lead, powered by a 17-0 first-quarter run. Cleveland would never recover, losing 108-83. The Celtics were led by Al Horford’s 20 points, four rebounds, and six assists, while Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds. LeBron James would struggle on 5-of-16 shooting, scoring 15 points with seven rebounds, and nine assists.

Lightning fast Celtics start

Boston would tie the game in the first quarter at seven, then proceed on a 17-0 run over the next four minutes, extending their lead to 29-9 with 2:40 left to play in the first quarter. They then finished the quarter with a 36-18 lead. Cleveland would cut the lead to 15, at 42-27, on a LeBron James 11-foot jump shot. Later, with 5:27 remaining in the half, Jayson Tatum would sink a three-pointer to again stretch the Celtics lead to 20 and force a Cavaliers timeout. Boston’s lead would swell to 24, a Kevin Love slam dunk with 2:58 remaining in the half would silence the home crowd, but Horford’s three-pointer made the Celtics’ first half lead 25, at 58-33. Boston would finish the first half leading 61-35.

Celtics deny any thoughts of an epic comeback

Midway through the third quarter, Cleveland would cut the lead to 20 on two LeBron James free throws. Moments later, Marcus Morris would make a three-pointer, giving the Celtics a 70-47 lead with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter. Cleveland would draw within 17 points with 2:18 remaining in the quarter, but another Morris three-pointer would again make the Celtics lead 20.

They would finish the third quarter leading by just 14, at 78-64. Jeff Green’s jumper at the buzzer seemed to breathe life into the Cavaliers hopes to head into the final quarter of regulation. Boston opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run, forcing a Cavaliers timeout. Marcus Morris, making just his second playoff start, made a driving dunk following his own rebound and then made another three-pointer, giving Boston an 83-64 lead.

Morris would finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jayson Tatum’s three-pointer with 7:16 remaining gave Boston a 26-point lead, at 84-68, ending any hopes of a magical Cavaliers comeback. Game 2 in Boston is Tuesday, May 15, at 8PM ET.