Cleveland fans pulled out their brooms on Sunday, as their beloved Cavaliers completed the sweep of the Boston Celtics. Although it was expected, this series victory was a hard fought battle. There were some casualties, but the Cavs finished with a win and earned some extra rest before their next series. The Chicago Bulls lead the series against the Milwaukee Bucks, 3-1.

Cleveland got off to a great start offensively and defensively, jumping out to a 17-8 lead. Timofey Mozgov and J.R. Smith impacted the game early with 13 combined points. Smith nailed two, three pointers while Mozgov was attacking the paint. The mobile center scored easily on pick and roll plays, scoring seven points on three field goal attempts.

Meanwhile, the Cavs tried to get Kevin Love involved early as he took the team’s first two shots and then the unthinkable happened. Not even midway into the first quarter, Love went up for an offensive rebound and got tangled up with Celtics forward, Kelly Olynyk. As they came down, their arms were wrapped up and Kevin Love came out the wreckage holding his left shoulder. He ran off the court, immediately heading for the locker room.

Although it appeared as if he dislocated his shoulder, the Cavs training staff has yet to diagnose the injury. Love scored just two points before exiting the game. His status for the next playoff series remains uncertain.

Despite the blow, the Cavaliers fought on. They were on cruise control during the second quarter, sparking a 57-36 halftime lead. It was an all around team effort from Cleveland as nine different players scored in the first half. LeBron led the team with 13 points with Mozgov and Irving adding 10 each. Smith registered eight points and Iman Shumpert led the bench with four.

Furthermore, the defense was as efficient as the offense. The Cavs limited Isaiah Thomas to only two points while missing all seven of his field goal attempts. Not to mention, the Cavs held two Boston starters, Evan Turner and Brandon Bass, scoreless in the first half.

It’s important to note that tensions were high late in the second quarter and again early in the third. Just before the half, Kendrick Perkins set a hard screen on Jae Crowder resulting in him falling to the floor. The two players exchanged words and it escalated when Perkins put his hand in Crowder’s face. The scuffle resulted in a Perkins flagrant foul and technical fouls on both players.

Although Perkins remained in the game, J.R. Smith was ejected for his altercation. Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Smith and Crowder were shoving each other jocking for position when the last straw was drawn. The Cavs guard swung his arm back, back handing the Boston forward in the face. Crowder collapsed with a left leg injury and did not return to the game.

Whether it was intentional or not, Smith was ejected with a flagrant two foul. Needless to say physical play and hard fouls highlighted this game. Boston fought back to cut the deficit to nine, late in the third period. The Cavs led 70-61.

As the fourth quarter began, it was up to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to seal the victory. They combined to score the first 11 points and both All-Stars racked up ten points each in the period. Despite a late push by the Celtics and questionable officiating, the Cavs connected on eight of ten free throws heading down the stretch, sealing a 101-93 victory.

Some other fun facts to know: The Cavaliers had four players with double-doubles. James finished with ten rebounds and eight assists to go along with his 27 points. Irving added 11 boards and 24 points. Mozgov scored 12 and secured 11 rebounds.

The two surprises of the night – James Jones and Iman Shumpert. Jones didn’t hit a single three point attempt, missing all six of his tries. Shumpert is my player of the game. The guard was the fourth Cavalier to record double digit rebounds, with ten. Additionally, he scored 15 points off the bench, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. Not to mention, Shumpert added two steals and three blocks to his stat line. With Kevin Love’s status in question, Shumpert could keep the Cavs rolling along.

-Max Gold

Image Credited to: www.si.com

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