When we tell the story of the 2018 Celtics, God knows how many shots we’ll feature.
Al Horford’s baby hook to shock the Rockets. Buzzer-beating game-winners against the Blazers, Jazz, and Thunder. The steal and slam that stunned the Pacers.
But for my money, there might not be a more quintessentially Celtics bucket than the one Terry Rozier scored in Tuesday night’s stunning rally for a 107-94 Game 2 victory over LeBron James and the Cavaliers en route to a 2-0 Eastern Conference Finals lead.
The C’s had already survived an absolute haymaker from King James, who stormed the gates with 21 points in the first quarter. But now they were in full rally mode midway through the third, and Rozier sensed an opportunity for the kill.
Moments after the Celtics had claimed their first lead since 3-0, the Cavs missed a jumper. Rozier raced to the loose ball at halfcourt and took off.
James charged for the chase-down that Warriors fans see in their nightmares, but Rozier was having none of it. He accelerated, leaped from what felt like too far away, and then just kept rising. He reared back for the vicious right-handed tomahawk that blew the roof off the Garden and officially end Cleveland’s night. And quite possibly its season.
The Celtics beat the Cavs to every loose ball — Marcus Smart was everywhere. They beat the Cavs when play got dirty on a J.R. Smith flagrant foul — Smart was in the middle of that, too. And they played together in a way that completely eluded the discombobulated Cavs, who might not make it back to Boston at this rate.
Jaylen Brown led six scorers in double figures with 23 points, while Horford contributed a double-double. Smart, meanwhile, delivered 11 points, five rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
The Celtics needed all of it just to survive the opening 12 minutes, because James came out like he had spent the previous 48 hours looping Game 6 in 2012. The Celtics led his Heat 3-2 that night but never had a chance in a 45-point outburst that featured his murder face. The Heat won the final two games to reach the Finals.
James had similar designs on Tuesday. He scored 21 points in the first quarter from virtually every spot on the floor. His most ridiculous shot was a turnaround, fallaway 3-pointer with Marcus Smart draped all over him that literally had courtside fans laughing in disbelief.
He topped 40 points for the fifth time this postseason and finished with a 42-point triple-double. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that no one player can beat the Celtics. Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn’t do it in the first round, and Joel Embiid couldn’t do it in the second.
James obviously represents an entirely different beast, but the Celtics don’t seem to care. They trailed by nine in the third quarter before Rozier exploded for 14 points, including the wide-open 3-pointer to end the frame that left the Celtics up by seven points and in control of the series, which shifts back to Cleveland on Saturday for Game 3.
Full article @ Celtics 107, Cavaliers 94: LeBron throws best punch, C’s don’t even flinch in another commanding victory
Source: GreenStreet Blog