His elbow may be hurting, but it didn’t stop LeBron James from scoring 35 points Saturday night in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 101-93 win past the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.
That’s a nice way to go into receiving the MVP award later today at the University of Akron. James won’t need help hoisting the trophy, but he got some much needed help Saturday night.
Mo Williams dropped in 20 points that included a one-handed flush on Paul Pierce to turn the game around. The Cavaliers were down 11 before Williams dunked on Pierce and they wound up taking a 79-78 lead at the end of third quarter.
Shaquille O’Neal and J.J. Hickson each had 11 points as the Cavaliers shot 48.7 percent from the field, but the Cavaliers should be concerned heading into Game 2 Monday in Cleveland.
The biggest concern is Rajon Rondo. The Boston point guard had 19 points and eight assists in the first half. Rondo finished with 27 and 12, but he didn’t have the same impact in the second half. Rondo got in foul trouble and after taking a hard foul from O’Neal, he didn’t play the same, but he’s still a tough match up for the Cavs.
However, the rest of the Celtics started showing their age in the fourth quarter. They slowed down in the fourth. If the game is in the 100s, Cleveland will win. Boston must keep it in the 80s to have a chance.
So with one days rest, Cleveland has the edge for Game 2.