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Fast-paced approach propels Cavs to 116-86 victory over Celtics; Three takeaways

Hill, James fuel first-quarter charge

The Cavs came out with an aggressive approach by driving to the hoop at will and kicking the ball out for open shots beyond the perimeter. Whether it was dribble penetration from James or a three-pointer from Hill, the high-octane offense powered its way past a defense that ranked fourth in the NBA in defensive rating during the regular season (104 points allowed per 100 possessions).

“It’s very important for our guards to be aggressive,” said James. “No matter if they are making shots or not, we want them to be aggressive. It just keeps the defense at bay.”

Tasked with guarding James, Brown committed two early fouls to take a seat after just six minutes, 17 seconds of action. Boston had five fouls in the period, while Hill and James combined for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 shooting from deep. Hill’s ability to create his own shot and institute rapid ball movement at the point – effectively running a conventional offense – was a critical aspect of the outburst, and led to first-quarter leads as large as 19 points.

“I think just playing faster,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “[Hill’s] been in the league for a while and he understands – he’s a vet. Just playing with more force, more pace, more speed. He did that early on in the game.”

Cleveland’s shot selection included 11 field goal attempts in the paint, two mid-range jumpers and 10 three-point attempts. The balanced mix yielded a 47.8 percent field goal percentage (11-of-23), with Hill and James effectively complementing each other’s skillsets…

“Just being somebody out there they have to respect,” said Hill. “Just be aggressive, drive to the basket, take shots with confidence and just have fun with it.”

James entered play with a 12-0 record in the postseason when his team led by 15-or-more points after the first quarter…

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John Alfes is a senior at John Carroll University, and hails from Westlake, Ohio. His love and passion for the game of baseball originated in 1998, when he played catch with his father at the age of two. A former collegiate pitcher, Alfes currently serves as a Cleveland Cavaliers reporter for AP Radio/Metro Networks and the Cleveland Indians Beat Writer for CBS Sports/Scout Media Network, all while majoring in Communications (focus in Journalism) and English (focus in Professional Writing). He is the Sports Editor for The Carroll News, Sports Director for WJCU 88.7 FM and Senior Writer for the John Carroll Sports Information Department. John is an Eagle Scout and loves his two younger brothers (Conrad and Daniel) and two parents (John and Celeste). You can follow John Alfes on Twitter (@JohnAlfes) or reach him through email (

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