Watch CBS News

Celtics-Cavaliers What To Watch For: More Crowder In Game 2?

BOSTON (CBS) -- The tape has been studied and adjustments have been discussed.

The Boston Celtics have put their 113-100 loss to the Cavs in Game 1 in the rear-view mirror, and all the focus is on giving a much better effort Tuesday night. Boston knows if they want any chance of making some noise this series, they're going to have to steal Game 2 in Cleveland.

"Everyone should expect to see a different team," Avery Bradley told reporters on Monday. "We were able to watch film [Monday] morning and we know what we need to improve on. We know how we need to execute on the offensive end. That's our main focus going into [Game 2]."

Read: Celtics-Cavaliers Game 2 Preview

While the Celtics came out with good energy to start Game 1 on Sunday, the Cavaliers took over in the second quarter and never looked back. The Celtics were able to get within six points in the second half, but the heavily-favored Cleveland pulled away in the fourth quarter to take a 1-0 series lead.

Here is what to expect from the underdog Celtics on Tuesday.

Bounce-Back Game For Avery Bradley

Bradley was nearly non-existent on the floor on Sunday, checking in with just seven points off 3-for-10 shooting in 31 minutes. He hit just one of his six attempts from three-point range, with half of those attempts resulting in airballs. The Cavaliers didn't let the Celtics guard get to his shooting spots, and despite J.R. Smith's claim that Bradley gets Kobe Bryant-like treatment from the officials, he attempted no free throws in the loss.

The Celtics will have to get a better performance, both offensively and defensively, from Bradley if they want a shot at winning Game 2.

More Jae Crowder

Evan Turner also struggled for the Celtics on Sunday, but Stevens stuck with his Swiss Army knife for a team-high 34 minutes despite his minus-18 rating on the floor. Turner still filled the stat sheet with a 12-point, seven rebound, five assist line, but shot just 4-for-12 from the floor and looked lost covering LeBron James for most of the game.

The Celtics were much better at containing James, who finished Game 1 with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds, when Jae Crowder was on the floor. Crowder, who walked away with a 112.4 defensive rating after Sunday's game, kept James to 3-for-8 shooting, often forcing him to take deep jumpers. When James did go to the basket against Crowder, the Celtics forward was usually taken out of the play by a Cleveland pick, leaving a Celtics big man with the tall task of slowing him down.

James made five of his 10 shots with Crowder on the bench, with all five of those buckets coming in the paint. He was able to drive with relative ease when Turner or someone other than Crowder (usually either Bradley or rookie Marcus Smart) was defending him, so expect to see plenty of No. 99 on Tuesday.

Stevens mentioned Monday that utilizing the Celtics depth as an advantage is a big key going forward. If Turner struggles again early in the game, expect Stevens to go to Crowder a lot sooner than he did on Sunday.

Crash The Glass

The Celtics gave up 15 offensive rebounds in Game 1, leading to 18 second-chance points for Cleveland. If you want any chance at beating LeBron and company, you can't give them extra opportunities to put the ball in the basket.

Was LeBron Holding Back?

James was much more interested in getting his two playoff rookies, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, into a flow in Game 1 than taking over. Well, both Irving and Love had no problems with the postseason spotlight, so does that mean Game 2 will be LeBron's time to shine?

The Celtics were set on turning James into a facilitator in Game 1, and he happily obliged. But while James' final numbers were somewhat human compared to his normal output (especially against the Celtics), Irving went for a game-high 30 points, hitting five three-pointers, while Love was quietly effective with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Irving hit some out-of-this-world shots with hands in his face, and Love made the most out of his chances against a smaller Celtics lineup. If Boston overreacts too much to either, James will likely seize his opportunity to take over. If that happens, get ready to avoid SportsCenter for the next few days.

Tune in to every Celtics playoff game on 98.5 The Sports Hub -- the flagship station of the Boston Celtics. Pregame coverage begins 30 minutes prior to every game.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.