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Cavs send Celtics to record loss, 130-86, lead series 2-0

BOSTON (AP) An NBA playoff-record, 41-point halftime lead. A franchise record for total points. A 13th consecutive playoff win, tying another league record.

And LeBron James says the Cleveland Cavaliers can still do better.

''I believe we've got another level, as well,'' he said after Cleveland steamrolled the Boston Celtics with 130-86 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. ''As well as we played tonight, we've got a couple of things we can do better. There's no complacency for us now. But we like where we're headed.''

Minutes after the NBA announced the three finalists for the MVP award - and James wasn't among them - the Cavaliers star scored 30 points before resting in the fourth quarter. Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which led by 14 points after one quarter, by 72-31 at the half and by 46 after three.

Even with all of the starters sitting out the fourth, the 130 points was the most ever scored by the Cavaliers in a playoff game.

Kyrie Irving had 23 points for the Cavaliers, who return home with a chance to finish off the Celtics in Cleveland. It would be the third straight sweep this postseason for the defending NBA champions, who also won the last three games of last year's finals.

Game 3 is Sunday night.

''It's one game. I don't care if you win by 200 points,'' Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. ''We're going back home, we're not going to get comfortable. We understand that this is a good team. They're not No. 1 in the East for no reason.''

The Celtics played the second half without Isaiah Thomas, who had a strained right hip. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the star point guard had a nagging injury that he aggravated a week ago during the second-round series against Washington.

Asked how much that hurt his team, Stevens said, ''Not 44 points worth.''

''I don't want to put that on any one guy,'' he said. ''Ultimately, they were terrific. We were poor. You've got to be able to pick up the slack, certainly, when other guys aren't available.''

With both teams going to their benches in the fourth, the only suspense was whether the Celtics could avoid the worst playoff loss in franchise history. The Orlando Magic beat them by 47 points in the first round of the 1995 postseason.

Still, it was the worst home playoff loss ever for the most-decorated franchise in NBA history.

''It is embarrassing,'' guard Avery Bradley said. ''As a man, as a basketball team, it will say a lot about us how we respond.''

Thomas finished with just a pair of free throws, missing all six shots from the field. Rookie Jaylen Brown scored a career playoff-high 19 points for Boston.

The game tipped off about 15 minutes after the NBA announced that James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard were the finalists for the MVP award - the first time since 2008 that James won't finish in the top three.

Lue chuckled when he found out after the game that James was not a finalist.

''You've got to give the award to different people every now and then,'' Lue said. ''But to me, LeBron's the MVP.''

James, a four-time MVP, said he did not see the list before the game.

''My only job is to try to be the MVP for this team every night,'' he said. ''I know what I bring to the table. This league knows what I bring to the table.''

James still has a chance for a fourth NBA title - and second in a row. Maybe Golden State can figure out a way to slow him down, or San Antonio, if it can come back in the West. The Celtics haven't found a way, and they're running out of time.

James had 22 points in the first half, when had six of his seven assists and all three of his blocked shots, including a chase-down rejection of Bradley that was reminiscent of the one against Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

That one was critical to clinching Cleveland's first championship since the Browns won the NFL title in 1964.

This one more like rubbing the Celtics' noses in the fact that they just couldn't stop him.

After outsprinting the Cavaliers to the No. 1 seed in the East and home-court advantage in the final weeks of the season, the Celtics squandered it by losing both games in Boston - without ever having a lead.

''It's hard to take,'' Al Horford said. ''We've worked really hard and put ourselves in this position to be here. It's been tough for our group. Tonight was real rough, there's no other way to put it. It's definitely a low point for our group.''

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: James is first player with at least 30 points in eight straight playoff games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970. ... James played just 33 minutes - a low for this postseason and just the second time he played fewer than 40 in the 2017 playoffs.

Celtics: Stevens started Gerald Green in place of Amir Johnson. Green made his first two shots - both 3-pointers - but finished with six points. ... The Celtics missed their first six shots. ... There was a large contingent of New England Patriots sitting courtside, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and owner Robert Kraft.

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Key Players
L. James
23 SF
I. Thomas
4 PG
33.7 Min. Per Game 33.7
27.5 Pts. Per Game 27.5
5.9 Ast. Per Game 5.9
2.8 Reb. Per Game 2.8
53.7 Field Goal % 45.7
48.3 Three Point % 43.1
68.8 Free Throw % 89.0
  Defensive rebound by James Jones 0:25
  Jaylen Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:27
  Defensive rebound by Jordan Mickey 0:31
  Dahntay Jones missed hook shot 0:33
  Bad pass turnover on Tyler Zeller 0:46
  Defensive rebound by Jonas Jerebko 0:55
  James Jones missed hook shot 0:57
+ 2 Jordan Mickey made reverse layup 1:08
  Personal foul on James Jones 1:16
  Defensive rebound by Jordan Mickey 1:21
  James Jones missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:23
Team Stats
Points 130 86
Field Goals 48-85 (56.5%) 32-86 (37.2%)
3-Pointers 19-39 (48.7%) 8-27 (29.6%)
Free Throws 15-23 (65.2%) 14-15 (93.3%)
Total Rebounds 52 48
Offensive 9 10
Defensive 36 29
Team 7 9
Assists 28 23
Steals 10 7
Blocks 6 4
Turnovers 12 20
Fouls 17 19
Technicals 0 3
away team logo
L. James SF 23
30 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST
home team logo
J. Brown SF 7
19 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST
1234T
away team logo2 Cavaliers 2-0 32403127130
home team logo1 Celtics 0-21813262986
Team Stats
away team logoCavaliers 2-0 110.3 PPG 43.7 RPG 22.7 APG
home team logoCeltics 0-2 108.0 PPG 42 RPG 25.2 APG
Key Players
L. James SF 26.4 PPG 8.6 RPG 8.7 APG 54.8 FG%
J. Brown SF 6.6 PPG 2.8 RPG 0.8 APG 45.4 FG%
Top Scorers
L. James SF 30 PTS 4 REB 7 AST
J. Brown SF 19 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
56.5 FG% 37.2
48.7 3PT FG% 29.6
65.2 FT% 93.3
Cavaliers
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. James 32 30 4 7 4 3 1 1 12/18 4/6 2/4 0 4 54 +46
K. Irving 29 23 1 3 1 1 4 2 8/11 3/6 4/5 0 1 28 +37
K. Love 26 21 12 2 1 0 1 2 7/14 4/9 3/4 3 9 37 +35
J. Smith 26 9 7 0 0 0 0 0 4/5 1/1 0/0 1 6 16 +28
T. Thompson 25 7 2 1 0 0 2 2 3/5 0/0 1/2 1 1 9 +19
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. James 32 30 4 7 4 3 1 1 12/18 4/6 2/4 0 4 54 +46
K. Irving 29 23 1 3 1 1 4 2 8/11 3/6 4/5 0 1 28 +37
K. Love 26 21 12 2 1 0 1 2 7/14 4/9 3/4 3 9 37 +35
J. Smith 26 9 7 0 0 0 0 0 4/5 1/1 0/0 1 6 16 +28
T. Thompson 25 7 2 1 0 0 2 2 3/5 0/0 1/2 1 1 9 +19
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Jefferson 19 10 5 1 0 2 1 0 3/7 2/4 2/4 2 3 18 +6
K. Korver 12 8 1 0 0 0 0 1 2/5 2/5 2/2 0 1 9 +16
I. Shumpert 12 7 5 3 2 0 1 2 2/2 2/2 1/2 1 4 19 +20
C. Frye 13 7 1 3 0 0 1 2 3/6 1/2 0/0 0 1 13 -2
De. Williams 9 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 2/4 0/1 0/0 1 0 7 -4
De. Williams 16 4 3 6 2 0 0 2 2/4 0/2 0/0 0 3 21 +20
D. Jones 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0 2 4 +3
J. Jones 9 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 1 0 -4
K. Felder - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Tavares - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 233 130 45 28 10 6 12 17 48/85 19/39 15/23 9 36 235 +220
Celtics
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Bradley 31 13 3 0 0 0 0 3 6/17 1/5 0/0 2 1 16 -42
A. Horford 27 11 5 2 0 2 3 1 4/9 2/4 1/2 1 4 19 -34
J. Crowder 22 9 4 1 1 0 1 1 3/9 1/4 2/2 0 4 15 -28
G. Green 14 6 0 0 0 0 1 1 2/4 2/3 0/0 0 0 5 -19
I. Thomas 17 2 3 6 0 0 1 0 0/6 0/2 2/2 0 3 16 -32
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Bradley 31 13 3 0 0 0 0 3 6/17 1/5 0/0 2 1 16 -42
A. Horford 27 11 5 2 0 2 3 1 4/9 2/4 1/2 1 4 19 -34
J. Crowder 22 9 4 1 1 0 1 1 3/9 1/4 2/2 0 4 15 -28
G. Green 14 6 0 0 0 0 1 1 2/4 2/3 0/0 0 0 5 -19
I. Thomas 17 2 3 6 0 0 1 0 0/6 0/2 2/2 0 3 16 -32
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Brown 23 19 4 1 2 0 3 5 7/11 0/2 5/5 1 3 24 -14
T. Zeller 14 8 4 0 0 1 2 1 4/6 0/0 0/0 2 2 11 -1
T. Rozier 18 6 1 3 0 0 3 0 2/5 2/4 0/0 0 1 10 -5
J. Jerebko 16 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 2/4 0/1 0/0 1 1 10 -14
M. Smart 24 4 5 7 1 1 3 4 0/6 0/1 4/4 2 3 22 -24
J. Mickey 9 2 5 0 0 0 1 1 1/3 0/0 0/0 0 5 6 +4
A. Johnson 11 2 3 1 2 0 1 1 1/4 0/0 0/0 1 2 8 -5
K. Olynyk 7 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 0 0 -6
D. Jackson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Young - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 233 86 39 23 7 4 20 19 32/86 8/27 14/15 10 29 162 -220