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Cavaliers, LeBron James give Celtics a big dose of realty in another blowout at TD Garden

05.19.17 at 10:52 pm ET
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The Celtics were once again no match for LeBron James and the Cavs (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics were once again no match for LeBron James and the Cavs (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics came into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference 5.5 point underdogs according to SportsInsights.com. They probably could have done without the decimal point.

Heading into Friday night, the consensus was that while the Celtics would have a hard time finding a way to beat the Cavaliers, it couldn’t possibly be as bad their Game 1 blowout loss to Cleveland. That would have been correct. It was much worse.

But what the Cavaliers’ 130-86 win over the Celtics did do was leave no mystery to what we have hear. (For a complete recap, click here.)

“It’s honestly just embarrassing,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “They came out, not only playing harder but knocking down shots and I think that made it that much worse but credit to those guys. We’ll find out what kind of team we are seeing how we respond. I’m excited about game 3, I know I’m going to bring it. I’ve been going to war with these guys all year so I know everybody else is going to have their A game as well no matter what the outcome is, everyone else is going to come out and play as hard as they can.”

“We got our ass kicked,” added Celtics forward Jaylen Brown. “We didn’t come out with enough energy to start the game, now two games in a row. The defending champs swept us off the floor.”

Game 1 wasn’t lopsided because of a lack of rest for the Celtics. This wasn’t about finding the right player to guard LeBron James. And identifying the right starting lineup really shouldn’t have been of any concern.

This is all about one supremely talented team, and once-in-a-lifetime player, living at a level the gritty, gutty, up-and-coming Celtics can’t approach.

The Cavaliers haven’t lost a postseason game this year for a reason, and it’s not because of who they are playing. Watching them dismantle the Celtics in Game 2 — having carried a 72-31 lead at halftime — this is simply shaping up as one of the best NBA teams we’ve seen in some time. And this is not a Celtics team that is quite yet built to take on such a potentially historic opponent.

Sure, we now know Isaiah Thomas is banged up, having sat out the second half with a strained right hip. And the Celtics certainly did themselves no favors by shooting 26 percent from the floor in the first half while Cleveland was clocking in at 59 percent. But really none of that mattered.

LeBron is simply dominating each and every game in ways we haven’t seen in years and years, and maybe ever. He does anything and everything against anybody he wants. Guards, forward, and even centers. Watching Friday night, it’s really hard to remember anybody who is doing what he is doing.

And then you throw in players Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver and Deron Williams and you have a team that sure looks ready to beat the team everybody thought was unbeatable, Golden State.

After the Celtics closed the gap to 11-10, it was sad trombone time from there for a TD Garden crowd that so desperately wanted to remember the good times of Monday and Tuesday. It just wasn’t happening.

Markelle Fultz, Jimmy Butler and Paul George combined probably wouldn’t have beaten this team Friday night. And that was the kind of reality check even the most cautious Celtics couldn’t have seen coming.

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