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BOSTON – Drive. Kick. Repeat.
The second half got pretty repetitive for the Celtics, as they watched Cleveland Cavalier ball handlers slip through the perimeter defense, get to the paint and rifle a pass to a wide open corner shooter. The Cavs hit four of them in the third quarter, as they won the third 29-15.
The run started after Kevin Love hit the first three of the third quarter at the 7:46 mark. The Cavs proceeded to go on a 15-2 run over the next four minutes.
In the end, the Cavs shot 14 percent better than the Celtics. Boston attempted 9 more shots, but shot a pitiful 32.2 percent. Cleveland looked like the team Boston remembers from the first-round last year. Their perimeter defense was swarming. They stopped almost everything at the rim. Open shots for the Celtics were rare to see and rare to convert.
Kevin Love had a typical Kevin Love game. He piled up his points from the three-point line, but put whomever the Celtics threw at him on the block. Whether it was his up and under move on Kelly Olynyk, or bullying away and running ragged a struggling Amir Johnson, Love was dominant. He hit a three from all three zones above the break, but more notably went 4-for-6 near the rim.
More remarkable was LeBron James’ shot chart. All of his baskets came at the rim, except for one stray make from the high post. James finished with 24 points on 10-for-20 shooting with seven rebounds and six assists.
Avery Bradley was the Celtics’ high scorer with 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting (3-for-10 from three). While the Celtics held a 46-40 lead at halftime, they shot just 26.2 percent from the field in the second half to the Cavs’ 51.3 percent. Yes, the Cavs shot nearly double the Celtics percentagewise in the second half.