Boston said all the right things heading into Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether it was their leader Isaiah Thomas telling the media that their opponents weren’t "The Monstars", the alien villains from Space Jam, or Jaylen Brown calling LeBron James “a regular guy.”
However, after the ball went up on Friday night, it was clear that the gap between how the Celtics will actually be able to perform in this series and how they think of their chances is widening by the game and possibly by the day.
Game 2’s 130-86 massacre was basically every fan of the number-one-seeded team’s worst nightmare. The first game of the series didn’t seem to go very well either as the home team lost 117-104 in a battle that actually wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate.
The Cavs dominated for almost the entire game and after the beatdown LeBron James said something that made beat reporters in attendance raise their eyebrows. He said that he didn’t think that this squad played particularly well during the game and that they could be better.
Naturally, the team came out in the next game and emphatically proved his point as the visiting team ended up leading by 41 points heading into halftime. This was the definition of a laugher heading into the second half and at one point the Celtics were down by 50 points.
If James’ first statements after the last blowout drew attention, then his comments after this contest should scare the rest of the league. Basically, he told the media that while he was impressed with their performance heading back home, the team is not satisfied.
The King explained: “I told you we got another level. You looked at me crazy. I told you that. I believe we got another level as well. As well as we played tonight, there’s still some other things we could’ve did better.”
Observers wondered how it could get any better than the thrashing handed out on Wednesday, but King James threw up 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three blocks in 32 minutes of action.
He was methodical, calculating and exacting on every single mistake that Boston made on Friday night. At one point Avery Bradley intercepted a wild pass and looked like he had a clear path to the basket for an easy layup, the Akron native swooped in and chased him down for a block.
That is how LBJ has functioned during this series and throughout these Eastern Conference Playoffs. He is the looming specter that other teams are looking over their shoulder trying to avoid despite the fact that everyone can see the result coming from a mile away.
Don’t be surprised when they find that other gear that James is talking about, it’s becoming routine at this point.