Celtics notebook: Team expects improved LeBron James Tuesday

Tristan Thompson predicts LeBron will do 'something legendary' in Game 2

The Pacers stunned the Cavs at home in their first-round opener, rolling to an 18-point victory.

Now where do James and the Cleveland Cavaliers go from here against a Celtics team that simply won't back down? James will have a response and will figure out a way to exploit him. "He's always done it". Cavaliers games have no tendency in regards to the total, as there has been an even split between games finishing over and under.

"They played better than us in Game One, so we look to redeem ourselves tonight", James said.

"We know it will be a heavyweight punch", Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of Game 2. All indications are that the Cavaliers will start Tristan Thompson at center in Game 2 against the Celtics. Horford made 8-of-10 shots and scored 20 points in just 27 minutes in Boston's 108-83 dismantling of the Cavs in Game 1 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.

But this isn't just LeBron playing puppet master and Lue going wherever the strings lead him; there is some logic behind the decision.

Morris is celarly going to be a vital player on both ends in this series, and he could not have done a better job in game one.

Lue said numbers showed that in the last three years, out of all the players that have guarded Horford over at least 30 possessions, Thompson is No. 1 in the league defending him. "We've got to be better".

In response to their second straight sweep at the hands of James, the Raptors made a decision to fire head coach Dwane Casey on Friday. And just as comic book villains shouldn't hope to unleash the Hulk, playoff opponents should be wary of an angry LeBron James looking to avenge a playoff loss, as he will on Tuesday night in Boston. We've got to be more decisive.

Which team will LeBron James play for next season?

On Sunday, however, Horford flipped the script and outplayed Love in a major way.

Trying to figure out who the Cavaliers were - while they were incorporating new personnel and navigating what James called three or four different seasons in one - seemed hard. That lineup tormented the Raptors last series. LeBron would have played over 40 minutes if the game wasn't out of hand late in the fourth, and the intensity of those minutes is catching up to him against a team like Boston.

"I think as a team, 1 through 5, we gotta all play tougher", Thompson said. "Obviously when I check in the game, I'll try to bring that toughness and that energy". But we have what we need.

He said his past playoff success against Horford has come by him being himself, which means being active early. What was most surprising was the fact that Boston was able to do this without two of their biggest stars. After all, Boston just put on a clinic the other night.

For the first time since the 2008 East Semifinals, LeBron James trails 0-2 in an intraconference playoff series.

A narrative has emerged that Houston are also the hungrier team, with Harden and Paul having yet to win a title while several of the Warriors' key players have two to their name. He returned soon after and checked back into the game, however.

We can take this comparison to deeper levels and discuss LeBron's pursuit of championship rings being the equivalent of Thanos' pursuit of the six infinity stones (and Michael Jordan has six rings), but we can save that for another time.