No Smith suspension as Celtics' Smart hits out at Cavs 'bully'

Celtics withstand James' huge night

Cavs star James goes to locker room after shot to jaw

LeBron James had "zero level of concern" after the Cleveland Cavaliers lost the road opener of the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston. Why can't James' brilliance be enough one more time, ensuring that we receive the maximum dosage possible this season?

Rooting against Boston is a time-honored tradition in my circle of native New Yorkers, Howard University alums and others who now call D.C. our home.

The Cavaliers also have four trade exceptions, including one worth nearly $6 million from the Kyrie Irving trade that they could go get a veteran guy that James likes, to add to the club.

The dynamics were unchanged when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen resurrected Boston and split a pair of titles with the Lakers. It's Celtics basketball. We're really embracing Celtics basketball.

When James rose to become the East's predominant force, he replaced Los Angeles as our favorite Boston killer. He was hitting the most hard shots, but the Celtics knew how unsustainable that was. Despite their remarkable little man, Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics still weren't endearing.

They could decide to use that eighth pick, and with it, they could end up getting a guy like Michael Porter Jr. from Missouri who might have went number one overall if it wasn't for the back injury.

Boston's Marcus Smart saw it differently.

Part of the reason is we doubted Cleveland would be very competitive against the Warriors (assuming they advance against Houston).

The Celtics started a 21-year-old second-year guard Jaylen Brown, a 20-yeard-old rookie Jayson Tatum and 24-year-old point guard Rozier who started the season as a backup and moved into the starting lineup when Kyle Irving needed season-ending knee surgery.

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Welcome to the big time, young Celtics!

Even with Lebron James pouring in 42 points in another heroic effort to lift his team, the Celtics was able to overcome a seven-point deficit in the first half and went on to outscore Cleveland 36-22 by the third quarter, as CBS Boston summed up last night's game. Unfortunately for Cleveland, half of his points were in the first quarter. Cleveland had 15 turnovers leading to 13 Boston points.

"It's a big win for us tonight, but there's a lot of work to do", the two-time MVP said.

"You know, and I just looked at it, Al is a defenseless person".

"I'll recalibrate as far as how I can help this team continue to be successful, how I can do some things to make us be even more complete".

Smith was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul (giving Horford two free throws and the Celtics possession of the ball) rather than a flagrant-2, which would have resulted in Smith's ejection. Lue can focus on the teams' respective physicality if he likes, but the deeper concern was their contrast in versatility.

The Celtics used a balanced attack as a half dozen players reached double figures.

There was also the matter of why Smith was still playing at that point.

If early success in difficult situations means that James and the Cavaliers will take the hard route, and not make the adjustments to ease the situation, then they will be able to keep control of this series.

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