Celtics' Thomas sits out 2nd half with right hip strain

Boston Celtics players and coaches watch from the bench during the final minutes of Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals Wednesday

The Cavaliers won their two home games against Boston in the regular season by six points apiece but the Celtics haven't played in Cleveland since December 29.n League lead with 11.

Brown, to his credit, backed up his statement about James with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting off the bench to lead Boston, though 13 of those points came in a second half that wasn't competitive. The Celtics trailed by 41 points at halftime, the largest postseason deficit in National Basketball Association history. "Our team is in a great groove right now", James said.

'We got our (butt) kicked. "But we like where we're headed".

Cleveland led by 14 points after one quarter, by a record 41 at the half and by 46 after three. Not even the first 95 games.

Pachulia will most certainly receive a villain's welcome for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Saturday at AT&T Center regardless of whether he's on the court or not, simply because he was involved in the play that injured Kawhi Leonard in the series opener.

"It's one game. I don't care if you win by 200 points", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We're going back home, we're not going to get comfortable".

After missing all six of his shot attempts in the first half, he was held out of the second half with a "right hip strain", according to the team.

"Everybody in the world knows they're good", said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

Asked how much his team missed its top scorer, Stevens said, "Not 44 points' worth".

"I don't want to put that on any one guy", he said.

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"I think ultimately they were terrific, we were poor". So we're going to focus on us, we're going to figure out ways to play better and we're going to go after it on Sunday. Still, it was the Celtics' worst home playoff loss. The Orlando Magic beat them by 47 points in the first round of the 1995 post-season. When the dust settled, the Cavs had a 130-86 win - the biggest home loss in Boston's playoff history.

"It's honestly just embarrassing", Bradley said.

"No. I don't think they're in our head", Brown said.

The All-Star had just two points and six assists in the opening 24 minutes as Cleveland took a 72-31 lead.

The game tipped off about 15 minutes after the National Basketball Association announced that James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard were the finalists for the MVP award - the first time since 2008 that James won't finish in the top three.

LeBron James weighs in on not being named an MVP finalist.

Do you need to see any more proof?

In the process of downshifting in the regular season, LeBron also cost himself the MVP award. My only job is to be MVP of this team every night. I know I'm going to bring it. Maybe Golden State can figure out a way to slow him down, or San Antonio if it can come back in the West. Celtics players rallied around the notion that they've rallied out of an 0-2 hole once already in these playoffs, against the Chicago Bulls.

That one was critical to clinching Cleveland's first championship since the Browns won the National Football League title in 1964. I'm a hardcore Cleveland fan, but this game was just upsetting to watch. These end game statistics do not match up with the performances we were given throughout the majority of the game; as the Cavaliers were able to utterly dominate the Celtics in the paint scoring heavily in there. "For him to have to sit is really hard". James is the best player alive.

Celtics: Stevens started Gerald Green in place of Amir Johnson. He finished with two points in 18 minutes. Mid range and total shooting efforts were heavily favouring the Cavaliers as well, who shot 56%, whereas the Celtics only connected on 37% of their shots.

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