In his first ever playoff game, Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving pulled no punches, scoring a game-best 30 points and five 3-point shots.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 1 of the First Round of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics 113-100 thanks to an impressive 30-point performance from Kyrie Irving in his first ever playoff game.
The first quarter gave the Celtics the feeling that they could pull off the road upset, finishing with a 31-27 lead. But it wouldn’t last as the Cavaliers stormed to life in the second quarter and outscored the Celtics a whopping 35-23 in the second quarter. The Cavaliers extended their lead even further in the third quarter by outscoring the Celtics 29-22 – giving them a 91-76 lead after three. The Celtics came close to making a real game of it in the fourth quarter, but were unable to erase the 15-point deficit they had been dug into and their 24-22 edge in the fourth quarter was not enough to avoid the loss on the road in Cleveland.
Irving, the fourth-year star for the Cavaliers, had never played in a playoff game before this year despite being a three-time NBA All-Star. But he made up for lost time with a dominating performance that included a game-high five three-point conversions, 11 successful field goals, and a game-leading 30 points.
Irving’s big game included this stunning buzzer-beating three-point shot to end the 1st half from 26 feet out that extended the Cavs halftime lead to 62-54:
LeBron James finished the game with 20 points but committed five turnovers (the most on the team) in over 41 minutes of playing time – the most by any player in the entire game.
That strong first performance of the playoffs by James included this incredible block in the first quarter:
It also included this authoritative slam dunk in the waning minutes of the same quarter:
F Kevin Love, who the Cavaliers famously acquired in a trade with the Timberwolves in exchange No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, finished the game with a double-double: 19 points and a game-leading 12 rebounds (9 on defense) in just over 33 minutes of playing time. FC Tristan Thomas also contributed 12 points and went 4 of 6 from the free throw line, including a buzzer-beating three-point shot of his own at the end of the third quarter that gave Cleveland a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Celtics had to rely on star F Isaiah Thomas just to get points on the board as he recorded a 22-point performance – second in the game – along with 10 assists that kept the team competitive. But with the team going just 8-22 on three-point shots, they struggled to keep up once the Cavs got rolling. G Avery Bradley was one of the biggest culprits, putting up a grand total of 7 points in over 31 minutes (third most on the team) and going just 1-6 on three-point shots.
Starting F Evan Turner also struggled to pull his own weight in the game, recording just 12 points in a team-leading 34 minutes and going a mere 4-12 on FGs.
With the Celtics failing to take advantage, ESPN First Take host Skip Bayless proposed that they could be swept in four games.
Cavs will sweep Celts. Can’t wait for Cavs-Bulls. If DRose keeps getting healthier …
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 19, 2015
The Cavaliers host the Celtics again in Game 2 on Tuesday.