Cavs set NBA playoff record with 41-point lead

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Cavs set NBA playoff record with 41-point lead

The Boston Celtics improved on a historically bad first half Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

But not by much.

After the Cavaliers set a modern-day NBA playoff record by holding a 41-point lead, the precedents set when their 130-86 win was complete were of the franchise variety.

The Cavaliers scored the most points, and won by the largest margin in a playoff game, in team history. Meanwhile, the Celtics’ loss by 44 was their worst at home in the playoffs in team history.

The Cavs nearly fell short of the halftime record. But JR Smith’s turnaround, baseline jumper from 20 feet at the buzzer put them up 72-31 to give them the biggest lead at a half in the playoffs since the shot-clock era began in 1954-55.

LeBron James scored 30 points, Kevin Love had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving had 23 points to fuel the blowout.

James scored or assisted on 38 points, had three blocks versus the Celtics’ two and had as many steals as Boston, with two. The Cavs made 10 3-pointers, while the Celtics had only 11 field goals, as Boston shot just 27 percent.

Celtics star Isaiah Thomas did not make a shot in the first half on six attempts, scoring two points in 17 minutes, making it only the second half all season he had gone without a field goal. He was ruled out for the second half because of a hip strain. Thomas could be seen limping late in the first half.

The Cavs’ halftime edge surpassed the Detroit Pistons’ 40-point lead over the Washington Bullets during the 1987 playoffs.

It was also only the second time in the shot-clock era, including the regular season, that the Celtics trailed by more than 40 points at halftime. The other time was a 44-point halftime deficit on Nov. 23, 1967, against the Seattle SuperSonics.

The Cavs’ monumental rout came in the wake of several Celtics players attempting to downplay Cleveland’s hot streak entering the game, into which they brought a 12-game playoff win streak dating to last season.

“We’re not scared of Cleveland,” Thomas said Thursday. “They’re not the Monstars. They’re not on ‘Space Jam.’ Like, they lace up their shoes just like us.”

Just before the game, it was announced James was not one of the three top vote-getters for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, which hasn’t happened since 2008.

“LeBron’s a good player, but I look at him as just a regular guy to me,” Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown said before the game. “I’ve got to come out and compete just like he has to come out and compete. I’ve got to tie my shoes just like he ties his shoes. There’s bigger threats in my neighborhood than LeBron James, so I have no fear whatsoever of LeBron.”

Information from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report.

Cavs set NBA playoff record with 41-point lead


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