Celtics survive 42-point night by LeBron, down Cavs

Celtics survive LeBron's 42 for 2-0 lead

That's a crushing, nearly embarrassing, number. After doing his usual act of all-around headiness all night, he scored six-straight Boston points down the stretch to kill any chance of a comeback Cleveland could muster.

"Scary Terry" came life in the third after scoring only two points in the first-half. And that right there explains some of the complexity of this version of the Cavs.

Only this time, instead of responding like the team that crows about their ability to thrive in the face of adversity, they fragmented.

James immediately left the game, and the tempo of the match changed. It's the DNA they've shown all season long. In the playoffs, Cleveland's numbers have improved.

The Cavs led, 61-52, with 10:09 remaining in the third period when the Celtics put it together.

Game 3 is in Cleveland on Saturday. James would finish with 42 points on 16-of-29 shooting Tuesday night. Kyle Korver poured in 11 points in the first half, then went frigid. Call it confidence, but what matters more are results.

They were (gasp) even covering for one another on the defensive end and making multiple efforts, holding Boston to 48 points on 19-of-44 (43.1 percent) from the field and 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from 3-point range. They aren't just winning because James had a bad game, they aren't just winning without their stars.

"We have an opportunity to go back home, protect home court", he said.

"I think we're very alert to the fact that we'll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

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Seeing as Horford crushed the Cavs in the pick-and-roll in Game 1, it seems like an easy move to promote Thompson. The thinking was simple: Getting answers about things that don't work is still getting answers.

They were a team with mental lapses and a maddening neglect for attention to detail that led to nonstop eye-rolling, finger-pointer and palm-raising.

"Well they become more traditional [with Thompson]", Horford said.

Tristian Thompson, 28, replaced Korver in the starting lineup in Game 2 to lower the average of Cleveland's starters to 30.8, but it was still much higher than Boston's. He didn't stay there, as Lue put Thompson back on the bench during the Raptors series.

Maybe Lue still thinks so, but who knows? Boston did just that, smothering LeBron James and company en route to a resounding 108-83 victory.

"It was a two-possession game, we were down six and we had a great trap in the corner on Jaylen Brown and I felt like we played great defense". Just wanted to go back to the back and make sure everything was fine.

"We just can't allow that to keep happening", Smart said. "But we won seven out of eight, and we weren't going to adjust until someone beat us".

Tuesday's game got physical as the Celtics pulled out all the stops to try and contain James. "Yes, we have to weigh that decision".

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