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Cavaliers embarrass Celtics in record-breaking fashion

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James trades high-fives with teammates Iman Shumpert, left, and Deron Williams, right, during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, Friday, May 19, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

On a night when it was revealed that LeBron James isn’t an MVP finalist, James showed why he’s still the best player in the world, as his Cleveland Cavaliers thoroughly embarrassed the Boston Celtics 130-86 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take a 2-0 series lead. The Cavaliers have won 13 straight playoff games dating back to last season, tying the 1988-89 Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA record.

Cleveland led by a whopping 41 points at halftime thanks to a crazy J.R. Smith shot to set an NBA playoff record for biggest lead at the break:

The defending champs led by 14 points after one quarter, then outscored the Celtics 40-13 in a second quarter that can only be described as a complete and utter annihilation. The Cavaliers shot 59.1 percent overall and 10-for-22 from 3-point range in the first half. Boston shot 26.8 percent overall and 3-for-14 from 3. Cleveland led 26-12 in points in the paint and 16-0 in fast-break points. That’s how you get a 72-31 score.

The second half was merely a formality. The Cavaliers led by as many as 50 points and shot 56.5 percent for the game. They went 19-for-39 from 3. The 130 points scored set a playoff franchise record and the 44-point final margin is an Eastern Conference Finals record.

James put forth yet another masterful performance with 30 points, seven assists, four rebounds, four steals and three blocks in 33 minutes:

He shot 12-for-18 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3. He was a plus-46 overall and a plus-40 in the first half alone:

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love offered plenty of scoring support. Irving found his shot with 23 points on 8-for-11 from the field and 3-for-6 from long range. Love recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The big man knocked down four more treys after hitting six in Game 1.

Meanwhile, nothing went right for the Celtics in their own arena as they suffered their worst home playoff loss in franchise history. Also:

Isaiah Thomas scored two points on 0-for-6 shooting in the first half and didn’t play in the second half due to a hip strain. Rookie Jaylen Brown led Boston with 19 points off the bench. Brown’s play has been the one silver lining through the first two games for Boston.

Game 3 is in Cleveland on Sunday.

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