Cavaliers whip Celtics 117-104 to kick off Eastern Finals

Any concerns about the Wine and Gold being out of rhythm after a nine-day layoff between rounds were erased early and often on Wednesday night in Beantown – with the razor-sharp Cavaliers dismantling the Celtics, 117-104, going wire-to-wire to take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Cleveland still hasn’t lost in the 2017 postseason and seem to get stronger with each passing round. On Wednesday night at The TD Garden, the Cavs made it look simple – running out to a double-digit first-quarter lead, upping it to 26 at intermission and barely looking back from there.

In their final head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Cavaliers thumped the Celtics in similar fashion. But Boston won its last three games, locking up the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But starting on the road barely phased the Wine and Gold – who replicated that early-April beating in Game 1 on Wednesday night in Beantown.

LeBron James – who’s now won at least one road game in 29 consecutive postseason series – ensured that his squad would avoid a slow start, notching 15 of his game-high 38 points in the first period, drilling seven of his first eight shots from the floor.

”I think it’s the mindset that you have to have when you go on the road for a Game 1 – you can’t start the game off lax or shooting a bunch of jumpshots,” said James. “That’s my mindset. We’ve got guys that can shoot the heck out of a ball, and obviously Kev showed that tonight. But for myself, I have to be in attack mode and just put the pressure on the defense and see what happens.”

James has now scored at least 30 points in seven straight Playoff games and topped that total again with 13 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win.

On the night, the four-time MVP finished 14-of-24 from the field and 9-of-11 from the stripe, adding nine boards, seven assists and a pair of steals.

LeBron was part of a starting frontline that combined for 90 points and 30 boards.

After a slow start, Kevin Love – who’s got some previous postseason history at the TD Garden – began heating up in the second quarter and never cooled down, combining for 29 points in the second and third periods and finishing with a Playoff career-high 32 points and a game-high 12 boards.

The last time the Cavaliers visited Boston, they did so without Tristan Thompson – who had his consecutive games played streak snapped at 447. He took it out on the Celtics on Wednesday night, also tallying a Playoff career-high 20 points – going a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor and adding nine boards, six off the offensive glass.

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