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

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Le Bron James drives to the basket as Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley left and forward Gerald Green right try to defend during the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Wednesday

Minutes after the National Basketball Association 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.

The trio went a combined 11 of 21 from 3-point range. It would be the third straight sweep this post-season for the defending National Basketball Association champions, who also won the last three games of last year's finals. The Cavs haven't played a home game since beating the Toronto Raptors, 125-103, on May 3.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Boston's Game 7 win over the Washington Wizards on Monday that Thomas was "dealing with more stuff, physically", but didn't elaborate. "We're going back home, we're not going to get comfortable". Bradley said. "We'll find out what kind of a team we are, seeing how we respond".

But the Cavaliers might simply be on another level than the rest of the East; they certainly seemed to show that on Friday night.

And when Thomas didn't return to the lineup with a right hip injury in the second half, the Celtics were then without their only true player who can create his own shot off the dribble.

'He was pretty despondent not to be able to play. That guy is a tough guy and he plays through a lot. "Ultimately, they were terrific".

Stephen Curry pulled Zaza Pachulia aside and made one thing clear to the Warriors big man: We got your back. The Celtics' loss by 44 was the franchise's worst at home in the playoffs. The Orlando Magic beat them by 47 points in the first round of the 1995 post-season.

"It's honestly just embarrassing", Celtics guard Avery Bradley said.

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

Thomas missed all six of his field goal attempts and scored two points in 17 minutes.

Rookie Jaylen Brown scored 19 to lead Boston.

The game tipped off about 15 minutes after the three finalists for NBA MVP were announced, and James wasn't among them. The same team that had coasted all season long - forfeiting the Eastern Conference's top seed in the process - has been a step ahead of its competition the entire time.

The deeper you get into it, the more your flaws come to the surface and eventually prove to be your undoing. "But to me, LeBron's the MVP". I care about him off the floor.

That one was critical to clinching Cleveland's first championship since the Browns won the National Football League title in 1964. "I know guys in the locker room have told him, 'As best you can, block out as much of this noise as possible because it doesn't matter".

Brown scored a playoff career-high 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting, but it wasn't almost enough against a Cavaliers team firing on all cylinders.

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