Cavs brush aside Celtics 117-104

NBA Eastern Finals

(The Sports Xchange): Cavaliers 117, Celtics 104

Defending champion Cleveland, playing their first game since May 7, put on a clinic, leading wire to wire and cruising to a 117-104 blowout of the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

Game 2 is on Friday at TD Garden before the series shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.

The Cavs toyed with the Celtics from the start, building a 26-point lead in the first half and expanding it to 28 in the third quarter before the Celtics cut it down to 17 at the end of the quarter. Boston rallied some and actually cut the deficit to 11 with the benches cleared in the final minutes.

LeBron James, looking to advance to his seventh straight NBA Finals, led the Cavs with 38 points (15 in the fourth quarter), his seventh consecutive 30-point game. He added nine rebounds and seven assists.

The win was the Cavaliers’ 12th in a row in the playoffs (one shy of matching the NBA record, set by the 1988-89 Los Angeles Lakers), dating back to last year’s Finals, while the Celtics’ five-game home playoff winning streak was stopped.

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