Cavaliers head coach Ty Lue chastised his team for their lack of toughness, while also taking a shot at the Celtics in the process. He did a great job when he switched and he did a great job when he was in help.
Horford had a much better explanation for the hard-nosed play the Celtics displayed over the final 24 minutes of the game, propelling them to their victory.
Eliminated by the Cavaliers in three of the last four postseasons, the Celtics needed a statement win in the opener and Horford's steady influence helped make that possible from the onset. "He's a true competitor", Stevens said. In the end, the Celtics won by 13 - 104-97 - to take a surprising 2-0 series lead. We know that. It's like a bully, you keep letting the bully keep picking on you, he's going to pick on you until you finally stand up, and that's what I tried to do. It's not the first time J.R. has done some dirty stuff, especially playing against us. Horford was 4-of-4 in the frame with 11 points and performed with assurance while guarding and being guarded by Cavs center Kevin Love. Everybody had the right intentions, just communicating that a couple seconds late put us in tough positions and they capitalized on it."Then there was the fourth quarter. I blatantly pushed him", Smith said. "One of my guys went down and I took offense to it".
"We were really moving the ball and really taking really good looks and that helped".
The league could review the play and upgrade it to a flagrant two. Marcus Morris countered with a 3-point play that instigated the Celts definitive surge. "I just wanted to make sure he didn't get it".