Celtics announce their biggest change for Game 2 vs. Cavaliers
UPDATE: Gerald Green hit two first-quarter threes, then not another shot the rest of the night. He finished with six points in 14 minutes as the Cleveland Cavaliers handed the Boston Celtics their worst home playoff loss ever, 130-86.
The Boston Celtics announced their biggest change for Friday’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavaliers Cavaliers, inserting Gerald Green into the starting lineup for Amir Johnson.
Coach Brad Stevens indicated he hopes to have the same success he had when he started Green in the first round against the Chicago Bulls. Green gave the Celts a couple of big games as they rallied to win four straight in that series, and he came into Game 2 hitting 44.1 percent of his threes (15 of 34) in the playoffs — and promptly nailed his first two tries from deep.
Gerald Green ignites the crowd with back to back treys! pic.twitter.com/UeYpBX4l9F
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 20, 2017
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue called it a “smart” move before the game.
“It gives them some more shooting on the floor to try to spread the floor,” Lue told reporters. “It’s the same thing they did in the Chicago series, which helped them out. We’re just trying to do a good job of taking the ball out of Isaiah (Thomas)’s hands, so to get another shooter on the floor [is] smart.”
The Celtics’ biggest challenge is slowing LeBron James, who went for 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in winning Game 1. He’s averaging 31, 9.4 and 9.2 against Boston this season.
Starting Gerald Green= Brad Stevens punting rebounds. Celtics will Live & Die by the 3. Cavs should play Thompson/Kevin Love 40 mins each
— Dos Equis Sports Guy (@1ColdTake) May 20, 2017
Gerald Green is getting the start tonight in Game 2, but I'm curious as to when President Stevens is going to give Jaylen Brown the nod.
— Cody Rivera (@sportscody33) May 20, 2017
"Gerald Green, Al Green, Mean Joe Greene, the green monster, it don't make me no difference" pic.twitter.com/I3v8Y7160R
— James To Tha Hizzo (@SnottieDrippen) May 19, 2017
Stevens tried to make adjustments to slow the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, yanking Johnson after five minutes, but nothing worked. James scored on all seven defenders the Celtics threw at him in Game 1 — Green, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Kelly Olynyk. And 13 of the Cavs star’s 14 field goals came inside the paint.
A day later, the Celtics explained what their only hope against James is.
“It has to be a five-man effort; it’s not one guy who can really do that,” Crowder told reporters Thursday. “But at the same time you have to do a good job of showing it early.”
Said Brown: “We’ve got to have each other’s backs a little more. He got to the paint; I think he wanted to establish himself in the paint. We’ve got to do a better job of letting him see people in there and have more help defense.”
The Celtics discuss what they must change in order to slow down LeBron, and Isaiah Thomas comments on being named to the All-NBA Second Team pic.twitter.com/huT8aTWpP5
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 18, 2017
James said the Cavs are mentally preparing for the Celtics’ best shot in Game 2.
“There’s going to be some adjustments made from both sides. We have to be ready for it,” James told reporters. “Obviously, we don’t know the exact adjustments, but we know they’re going to make adjustments. That’s what good teams do, and we have to be ready for whatever they bring to the table.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.