By EDDIE G. ALINEA
That, more or less, was LeBron James’ reaction to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 83-108 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their best-or-seven Eastern Conference finals Sunday.
“Game 1 has always been a feel-out game for me,” James told media men during the usual post-game press conference.
“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” James added, implying he wasn’t worried at all at what happened. “I didn’t go to college, so it’s not March Madness. You know, you get better throughout the series.”
“You see ways you can get better throughout the series. I’ve been down 0-1, I’ve been down 0-2. I’ve been down before in the postseason,” he reminisced. “But for me, there’s never a level of concern no matter how bad I played tonight, with seven turnovers, how inefficient I was shooting the ball. I’m just as confident going into a series whether it’s a 0-0 series or I’m down 0-1.”
James shrugged at reporters trying to get into the root of Sunday’s blowout. “I’ve seen every coverage, pretty much,” Bron said in reference to the Cavs’ awful 15.4 percent three-point shooting. “We’re going to take those same looks in Game 2, if the opportunity presents itself,”
Later, James was asked to explain the start of the fourth quarter, when the Celtics stretched a 14-point lead to 21 in the first 68 seconds. He replied by recounting Boston’s first three offensive possessions
In Game 2 of the Conference quarterfinals when he Indiana Pacers were threatening to take a 2-0 lead after winning Game 1 at home, LeBron shot 46 points on 71 percent shooting in a three-point win.
Boston though isn’t Indiana and allowing the Celtics go 2-0 the is would look near insurmountable given the way the team has been playing. “Totally different team, different series,” Cleveland’s J.R. Smith said.
On the eve of Game 1 on Saturday, Marcus Morris declared himself to be the best ’Bron defender’ this side of Kawhi Leonard. On Sunday, he backed it up, limiting James to 15 points, while chipping in 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“I’m a competitor,” Morris said. “He’s the best player. I’m going to be able to tell my kids this one day. It’s exciting. I love the challenge. But it’s a team effort.”
Morris coudn;t ve been a factor. A few minutes into the first quarter, Morris picked up his second foul. Many coaches would have pulled him out. Brad Stevens didn’t and Morris picked up just one more foul the rest of the way. “If he fouls out in the first quarter, somebody else has to play,” Stevens said. “That’s the way it goes.”
“Boston showed James two bodies all night,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue noted. “When they thought he had driving lanes, they helped, making him kick it out to our shooters.”
The Cavs’ shooters, however, missed, 14 straight times from 3-point range, to be exact. The Cavs made just 36 percent of their shots, were outrebounded (48-40) and surrendered 60 points in the paint.
Asked what Cleveland can improve on, Kyle Korver said, “Pretty much everything.”
In Game 2 on Tuesday, James can expect a Boston team bracing for a superior performance. “We’ll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night,” Stevens told Yahoo Sports, adding the Celtics will make James defend to slow him down by encouraging yountful Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart to attack when James when guarding them.
Stevens admitted that Boston struggled against Cleveland last season. This year, this team might not. (ENDIT)