After long rest, Cavs crush Celtics in Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals

After long rest, Cavs crush Celtics in Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals

BOX SCORE

BOSTON — LeBron James embarrassed every defender Boston threw at him and the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up where they left off following a long layoff, rolling to a 117-104 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

James had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

"He's playing at a high level. And that's the reason why we're riding him so much," coach Tyronn Lue said. "When LeBron's playing at that level other guys just have to be solid and we have a good chance to win."

Coming off a 10-day break, James and Cavaliers raced to an early lead were never threatened.

"You can't dig yourself in a big hole like that against them," Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

Kevin Love added a playoff career-high 32 points and had 12 rebounds to help the Cavaliers improve to 9-0 in the first three rounds of the playoffs. They opened 10-0 last season en route to their first NBA title.

Game 2 is Friday night in Boston.

James scored at will in the first half and the Cavs built a 26-point lead. Love opened up the floor for James, burying outside jumpers and forcing Boston to leave defenders one-on-one with James.

Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder led the Celtics with 21 points each. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points. Boston missed 11 of its first 14 shots.

Love averaged a quiet 13.8 points in the first two rounds, then broke out against a Boston team that knocked him out of the 2015 playoffs when he became tangled with Kelly Olynyk and dislocated his shoulder.

The shoulder was working just fine Wednesday, and he scored in the paint and from the outside.

Things got a little testy in the third quarter when Boston's Marcus Smart and Cleveland's Tristan Thompson got nose-to-nose and had to be separated by referees. Some jawing continued briefly before James stepped in to pull Thompson away.

Smart and Thompson were called for double technical on the play, but got tangled again a few minutes later. This time, Smart fell to the floor during that exchange, drawing a foul on Thompson.

The Celtics found some energy after the incident, closing the third quarter on an 11-3 run to pull to 92-75.

It didn't last long, though, as the Cavs quickly got the lead back up to 20.

James picked apart every defender that the Celtics threw at him in the first half.

He backed down defenders to set up 15-foot fade away jumpers. Other times, he simply took defenders off the dribble or sliced through double-teams on the way to layups.

Boston also seemed content to make every switch created by Cleveland screens, leading to some awkward matchups for James in the first half. In one such instance, Olynyk found himself one-on-one with James, who promptly drove past him and drew a foul at the rim.

The Celtics couldn't get anything working when they had the ball, held to just 35 percent from the field in the first half and 2 for 16 from beyond the arc.

The Cavs also held Thomas at bay offensively. He was 3 for 11 overall and 1 for 4 from the 3-point line after 24 minutes.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Since Game 5 of NBA finals, Cleveland has won a franchise-record 12 straight playoff games. ... The Cavs hold a 33-4 playoff record against Eastern Conference opponents (16-3 on the road)

Celtics: Finished with 14 turnovers, and were outrebounded 32-27. ... Lost at home for the first time since Game 2 of first round against Chicago.

John Wall commits to Wizards long term with huge contract extension

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John Wall commits to Wizards long term with huge contract extension

The Washington Wizards' long-term future is now a lot clearer, as superstar point guard John Wall agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $170 million. David Aldridge first reported the news.

Wall, 26, re-ups with the Wizards through the 2022-23 season. By the time it expires he will be 32 years old, meaning the Wizards have locked him up for the majority if not all of his prime.

Wall was able to earn the dollar amount he did in part because of his selection to third team All-NBA for the 2016-17 season. Under the recently installed collective bargaining agreement, honors like All-NBA and Defensive Player of the Year allow players to earn more money on contract extensions.

The Wizards drafted Wall first overall in 2010 out of the University of Kentucky. In his seven NBA seasons since, Wall has blossomed into one of the NBA's best players with career averages of 18.8 points, 9.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He has been an All-Star in each of the past four seasons and is a one-time All-Defensive team selection.

READ MORE AT CSNMidAtlantic.com

Kevin Love closes Twitter response with 'now go kick some rocks'

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Kevin Love closes Twitter response with 'now go kick some rocks'

On Friday afternoon, news broke that Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Cavs.

Shortly thereafter, a Twitter account with over 296,000 followers tweeted the following:

[RATTO: Kyrie Irving needs to be traded to one place, and one place only]

A little over an hour later, Kevin Love responded:

On Tuesday night, Irving told Sports Illustrated the Cavs are "in a very peculiar place."

In the weeks between Cleveland's Game 5 loss to the Warriors and the start of free agency, Love was reportedly on the trading block.

The Cavs and GM David Griffin "mutually" parted ways three days before the NBA Draft.

Cleveland is finally finalizing a deal with assistant GM Coby Altman to become the permanent general manager, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

LeBron James can opt out and become a free agent next summer, and there is already speculation about where he may go.

Man. The last six weeks in Cleveland have been wild...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller