Kyrie Irving continues to thrive on the big stage. With an All-Star Game MVP and a World Basketball Championship MVP to his credit, Irving racked up 30 points in his first NBA Playoff game. According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, Kyrie is the 11th player in the last 20 years to score at least 30 points in his postseason debut, joining a list that includes four past MVP winners (LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan) and Anthony Davis, who scored 35 points in his playoff debut Saturday night. (Thanks Lloyd)
Kevin Love struggled early making just 2 of his first 11 shots, but made his final 3 field goal attempts and in his first NBA Playoff game finished with a double/double 19 points and 12 rebounds.
LeBron James in his 1st NBA Playoff game recorded a triple/double against the Washington Wizards in 2006 with 32pts-11rebs-11ast in a Cavs 97-86 win. The last player prior to LeBron to go for a triple/double in his Playoff debut was Magic Johnson in 1980. (Fun Fact – Other players on that Cavs team were Donyell Marshall, Eric Snow, Flip Murray, an injured Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Damon Jones, Anderson Varejao, Ira Newble, Sasha Pavlovic, Alan Henderson and Z.)
Also in that Washington series LeBron made his 1st and 2nd game winning shots of his NBA career with game winners in Game #3 and in Game #5.
The “BIG 3” combined for 69pts-21reb-13ast in the 113-100 win. When the “BIG 3” have scored 65 points or more in a game this season, the Cavaliers are now (21-4).
Even with J.R. Smith in foul trouble the Cavaliers starting backcourt dominated the Celtics outscoring them 39-17. Kyrie Irving finished with a game high 30 points while Smith netted 9. Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart shot just 7 of 16 from the floor for Boston.
The Cavs dominated the boards and should do so this entire series. Cleveland outrebounded Boston 46-34. Kevin Love had a game high 12 rebounds and Timofey Mozgov added 8. The Cavs had a 15-7 edge in offensive rebounds which led to 18 second chance points. Tristan Thompson led the way with 4 offensive boards coming off the bench.
Long distance continues to pay off for the Cavs as they made 13 of 31 shots from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers outscored Boston from 3-point country in Game #1 39 to 24. Like rebounding, 3-point shooting should be an area that the Cavs dominate in this series.
The “Bench Bunch” comes up big in Game #1. While most of the focus is always on the “BIG 3”, role players are crucial in playoff series and a number of those role players stepped up in the 113-100 win. The Cavs bench totaled 29pts-13reb-5ast led by Tristan Thompson’s 12 points and 7 rebounds. James jones hit 3 HUGE shots, including two 3-pointers and finished with 8 points. Iman Shumpert played 32 minutes because J.R. Smith was in foul trouble and scored 7 points and grabbed 6 boards. Matthew Dellavedova hit a beautiful spinning, twisting lay up for 2 points and Shawn Marion contributed with 2 big steals.