Nick Wright reacts to Celtics downing LeBron’s Cavs in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

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In his discussion with Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe, Nick Wright reacts to the Boston Celtics defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavalier in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

NICK WRIGHT: Listen, I don't expect much out of Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarks, and the new players weren't my concern yesterday. It was LeBron having his single worst playoff game that he's had since game three against Boston in the Eastern Conference finals last year, a game the Cavs lost as well. The only game in the Eastern Conference playoffs they lost last year. The Cavs, guys that shouldn't have the moment be too big for them. Guys who have played in NBA finals, such as Kevin Love, such as JR Smith, Kyle Korver even not looking like themselves. And the Cavs inability to counterpunch when they knew the Celtics were going to come out with a wrinkle. This has been the best defensive team in the NBA all year long for a reason.

And the Celtics did something very interesting, which is they switched everything, which you knew they might do. But then when the Cavs tried to hunt down a mismatch, as soon as you tried to enter the ball to the player with the mismatch, they switched again. And the Cavs were not ready after the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter to combat that wrinkle that they hadn't seen from Brad Stevens.

The reason I'm closer to Lebron's stated level of concern than CC's is they simply are not going to go another game all year where they missed their first 14 three pointers. They're not going to go another game all year where they are one for 12 on open threes. And they will not have any other game all year, anything close to that performance by LeBron James.

He called game one against the Raptors the worst game he's played maybe all season. He still gave you a 24, 11, and 13 , it was just inefficient. LeBron was sloppy with the ball, wildly inefficient from the field, couldn't hit a shot, and seemed disengaged throughout different periods of the game. And so, that won't happen again. That's why this doesn't change my pick for the series. The game didn't go the way you would have hoped it to go, but I don't think it changes the trajectory of the series.

- Why do you think that happened? Six days off for this team to shore up some nagging injuries, get ready, prepare themselves, watched as much film as they wanted to watch, or was it that Brad Stevens had this team so prepared for what they knew LeBron was going to try to do at least?

- You can give Brad Stevens some credit, but the coach don't make shots for you. The coach don't help you put the ball in the bucket. They did have a great gameplan, the way they got the ball in the paint and dominated the paint, yes. The rest, that's logical. For all the playoff series that we've seen, the team that had a great deal of rest, the conventional is, "Man, we've got refs, we're going to play better." Basketball doesn't tell you that, not in the NBA.

The team that consistently plays every two or three nights, they're able to maintain the level of play because that off time, you can't recreate the intensity in practice. So that's what we've seen typically in the playoffs, the team that may be a long series, that they come into the next series with some bounce because of the consistency.

NICK WRIGHT: Well, and about LeBron though, there has been a trend these playoffs that LeBron has used game one as a feeling out game, so to speak. Now that doesn't explain the five for 16 shooting or the 0 for five from three, but it might explain these only 16 shots, it might explain the lack of aggressiveness. They are one and two in game one this year, we can show the numbers. The only game one they've won was when the supporting cast was very good against Toronto. And game ones, he's averaging 21 points shooting 38%, and an amazingly bad 6% from three. In every other game in the series, he's averaging 36 points on 58%.

We played a clip last week of David Griffin talking about LeBron James on Bill Simmons' podcast. Part of the clip we didn't play is he compared LeBron to a computer on learning mode, a guy who sees things, ingests or digests what he's seeing, and then makes adjustments on the fly. LeBron alluded to that in the post-game press conference. He said, "OK, now I know how they're going to play me." That doesn't, again, explain away or justify 15 points on less than 33% shooting. But I think it does explain some of the approach he had in the game that mirrors the approach of game one against the Pacers, game two against the Raptors.