By Julie Glass

So much for the home-court advantage!

LeBron James had 38 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics, 117-104, in game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Kevin Love added 32 points, a career-high for the playoffs, and had 12 rebounds to help the Cavaliers improve to 9-0 in the first three rounds of the playoffs. They opened 10-0 last season en route to their first NBA title.

James scored at will in the first half as the Cavs built a 26-point lead. Love opened up the floor for James by burying outside jumpers, forcing Boston to leave defenders one-on-one with James.

Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder led the Celtics with 21 points each. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points. Boston missed 11 of its first 14 shots.

Game 2 is Friday night in Boston.

Love averaged 13.8 points in the first two rounds, then broke out against a Boston team that knocked him out of the 2015 playoffs when he became tangled with Kelly Olynyk and dislocated his shoulder.

The game turned contentious in the third quarter when Boston’s Marcus Smart and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson confronted each other nose-to-nose and had to be separated by referees. Some jawing continued before James stepped in to pull Thompson away.

Smart and Thompson were called for a double-technical on the play, but got tangled again a few minutes later. This time, Smart fell to the floor during the exchange, drawing a foul on Thompson.

The Celtics found some energy after the incident, closing the third quarter on an 11-3 run to pull to 92-75.

The surge did not last long, though, as the Cavs quickly got the lead back up to 20.

James picked apart every defender the Celtics threw at him in the first half. He backed down defenders to set up 15-foot fadeaway jumpers. Other times, he beat defenders off the dribble or sliced through double-teams on the way to layups.

The Celtics could not get anything working when they had the ball, and were held to just 35 percent from the field in the first half and 2 for 16 from beyond the arc. The Cavs also held Thomas at bay offensively. He was 3 for 11 overall and 1 for 4 from the 3-point line after 24 minutes.

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