From the opening tipoff of Wednesday night's Eastern Conference opener between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was obvious who the better team was.
The Cavaliers had their way with the East's No. 1 seed, cruising to a surprisingly easy 117-104 victory that was not as close as the final score indicated.
Naturally, in the midst of a blowout, tensions were high on the Celtics' sideline, as they didn't appreciate the way the Cavs went about their business.
At one point in the third quarter, with the Celtics trailing 89-64, Boston point guard Isaiah Thomas got into it with Cleveland center Tristan Thompson. As you can see in the video below, LeBron James corrals Thompson while point guard Kyrie Irving takes a moment to troll Thomas by reminding him of the score:
Irving is lucky he didn't get whistled for a technical foul for clapping at Thomas and pointing to the scoreboard, but even if he did get T'd up, it likely wouldn't have made much of a dent in the final score.
The Celtics couldn't stop James, Kevin Love and Thompson - a trio that combined for 90 points on Wednesday night. After the game, IT told ESPN.com that he and his teammates need to be more physical with the Cleveland bigs on the defensive end of the floor:
"They were the better team tonight. The hit us first. They were more physical," Thomas said. "We can't let that happen again."
LeBron finished with a game-high 38 points and also added nine rebounds and seven assists in the win, while Love scored a career playoff-high 32 points and grabbed 12 boards. Thompson dominated in the paint, recording 20 points and nine rebounds (six of which came on the offensive glass).
Even LeBron was impressed by how Love and Thompson performed against the Celtics in Boston:
"It was our two bigs that set the tone - Kev and Double-T (Thompson), they were phenomenal," James said. "I saw it in Kev this morning. I knew what type of game he was going to have. So he came through for us."
The Cavaliers are now 9-0 this postseason after their blowout Game 1 victory. If the Celtics can't put together a better performance in Game 2 on Friday night, they may end up being the next victims of a Cleveland sweep, joining the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors.
Entering the game coming off nine days of rest clearly benefitted LeBron and his teammates on Wednesday night. The Celtics had to endure a hard-fought seven-game series against the Washington Wizards in the previous round, so their ability to shake off that fatigue will be critical if they want to extend this series beyond four games.