Welcome to the return of '3 Shots' as we check in from Quicken Loans Arena for the Cavs Watch Party as Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals takes place in Boston between the Celtics and the Cavaliers. Here are my top 3 observations from the first half as the Cavs lead 61-39:
1. So much for the rust factor
So much was made about the Cavaliers having been off for 10 days. Would they come out flat or rusty? Not so much. Despite starting a little cold from 3-point land, the Wine and Gold were extremely sharp on offense in taking a 30-19 lead after one. They moved well without the basketball. And that LeBron James guy was pretty good, too, scoring 15 of the Cavaliers' 30 first quarter points. At one point, Kelly Olynyk was matched up against The King on some isolations. That didn't work out too well for Boston.
2. A new 2nd quarter lineup for Tyronn Lue
So this was interesting: The Cavs started the second quarter with a different lineup than we've seen all postseason. Deron Williams, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, Richard Jefferson, and Kevin Love. LeBron James played the entire first quarter, then took a seat for the first three minutes of the second. Did this lineup make any real impact either way? Not really. The Cavs scored 6 (including a pair of Love baskets) and so did Boston. Jefferson had only played six minutes the entire series vs. Toronto. At least for the moment, Channing Frye becomes the odd man out in the rotation.
3. The Glass belongs to the Cavaliers
Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love are absolutely dominating the boards for the Cavaliers in the first half. At one point in the first quarter, TT and Love combined for nine rebounds while the Celtics had just four. When the Cavs opened up a 48-25 lead with 5:17 to go in the first half, the Wine and Gold had 23 rebounds to Boston's 9. Thompson kept alive several possessions with his superb offensive rebounding, including a sequence where he ignited Love for a three-point basket. Love finished the half with 13 points and 9 rebounds, Thompson had 11 points and seven boards. The Cavs outrebounded Boston 28-14.
Matt Florjancic and yours truly broke down the first half from here at the Q on WKYC's Facebook Live: