The Cleveland Cavaliers remain perfect in the NBA playoffs following an easy victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in Boston.
LeBron James and Kevin Love accounted for 70 points as the Cavs slammed the Celtics, 117-104. James finished with 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Cavaliers, who led by 26 in the first half. Love added a playoff career-high 32 points and had 12 rebounds as Cleveland won its 12th straight playoff game dating to last year’s finals. Love also was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
The Cavaliers’ 9-0 start to the playoffs comes a year after they won their first 10 postseason games.
Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder each had 21 points to lead the Celtics, while Isaiah Thomas managed 17 points on 7 of 19 shooting.
Game 2 is Friday in Boston.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Dallas Keuchel is getting plenty of attention after opening the season 7-0, but the Houston Astros have another pitcher who’s shutting down opponents.
Lance McCullers scattered three hits over six scoreless innings as the Astros blanked the Marlins, 3-0 in Miami to complete a three-game sweep. McCullers has pitched shutout ball in his last three starts to run his scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings. He improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.65 while helping Houston win for the ninth time in 10 games.
McCullers pitched while wearing cleats that displayed the initials and uniform number of the late Jose Fernandez, the former Marlins ace who was killed in a boating accident last fall. McCulleres and Fernandez had been friends since they were high school hurlers in the Tampa area.
McCullers received offensive support from Jose Altuve (al-TOO’-vay) and George Springer as the Astros improved to 29-12, the best 41-game start in club history. Altuve tripled twice, doubled twice and had an RBI. Springer added a two-run single to help the Astros move 17 games over .500 for the first time since 2004.
Baseball’s hottest team also resides in Texas.
The Rangers picked up their eighth straight win as Andrew Cashner and Jared Hoying led a 9-3 romp over the Phillies. Cashner finally won in his home state, yielding two runs and eight hits in seven innings. Hoying went 4-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored in his second big league start since coming up from the minors to replace injured center fielder Carlos Gomez.
— Boston won the longest game of the night by beating the Cardinals, 5-4 on pinch-hitter Chris Young’s RBI single in the 13th inning. St. Louis enjoyed a 4-0 lead until Jackie Bradley belted a two-run homer in the seventh. It was the Redbirds’ first loss in 20 games when leading after seven innings.
— Gerrit Cole cooled off Washington’s bats and earned his first victory in a month as the Pirates knocked off the Nationals, 6-1 in Pittsburgh. Cole allowed three hits over seven innings against a team that entered the game with a major league-leading 232 runs scored. Josh Bell cracked a three-run homer and Andrew McCutchen was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Bucs.
— Clayton Kershaw is 7-2 after pitching seven shutout innings to lead the Dodgers’ 6-1 stifling of the Giants in San Francisco. Kershaw shares the major league victory lead with Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, who improved to 7-0 with Tuesday’s win over the Marlins. Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run double and Yasiel Puig singled in a pair of runs as Los Angeles ended the Giants’ season-high, five-game winning streak.
— Aaron Hicks launched a three-run homer as part of the Yankees’ 16-hit attack in an 11-7 win at Kansas City. Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius each had two hits and two RBIs to help Michael Pineda win for only the second time in his last 16 road starts. Royals starter Jason Vargas entered the game with a major league-best 1.01 ERA before he was torched for six runs in four innings.
— Tyler Collins was mired in an 0-for-30 skid before homering twice and collecting four RBIs in Detroit’s 5-4 win against Baltimore. Collins hit a solo homer in the second inning and a three-run shot in the fifth to help Michael Fulmer improve to 5-1. The Orioles have dropped five of six since a six-game winning streak.
— Corey Dickerson followed his two-homer performance on Tuesday by belting a three-run shot in Tampa Bay’s 7-4 win at Cleveland. Alex Cobb gave up three runs and six hits over seven innings as the Rays completed a 4-2 road trip. Logan Morrison and Jesus Sucre also went deep for Tampa Bay, which smacked 10 home runs in the three-game series.
— The Brewers top the NL Central after scoring twice in the ninth to earn their fifth win in six games, 3-1 at San Diego. Jett Bandy singled home the tiebreaking run and Orlando Arcia added an RBI grounder. Milwaukee had only two hits going into the ninth before getting four straight with one out against reliever Brandon Maurer.
— Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs apiece as the Cubs beat the Reds for the 22nd time in their last 27 meetings, 7-5. Chicago took control with a five-run second and dealt Cincinnati its fifth consecutive loss. Kyle Hendricks drove in a run and worked six innings as the Cubs climbed back over .500.
— Chris Herrmann homered off Rafael Montero leading off the bottom of the 11th to give the Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory and a three-game sweep of the New York Mets. Jake Lamb smacked a two-run shot to help Arizona overcome homers by Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares. The Mets’ season-high seventh straight loss leaves them seven games under .500 for the first time since September 2014.
— Mike Trout has homers in five of his last six games after providing a three-run blast in the Angels’ 12-8 slugfest over the White Sox. Martin Maldonado also had three ribbies for Los Angeles, which scored four times in the second, sixth and seventh innings. Matt Shoemaker struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings and managed to stay in the game after the Chicago went ahead 4-0 in the second inning.
— Atlanta beat Toronto for the third straight night as Kurt Suzuki’s three-run blast capped a six-run first in the Braves’ 8-4 trouncing of the Blue Jays. But the Braves finished the game without first baseman Freddie Freeman, who was plunked on the wrist by a pitch in the fifth inning. Mike Foltynewicz picked up the win by allowing three runs over six innings.
— Seattle was a 4-0 winner against Oakland as Christian Bergman held the A’s to a pair of hits over 7 1/3 innings. Jean Segura extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a two-run single. Nelson Cruz also had two RBIs as the Mariners took the rubber match of the three-game set.
— The Rockies and Twins have been postponed in Minneapolis due to stormy weather. The game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Thursday.