LeBron James Cavaliers Celtics
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2018 in Boston. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics stunned LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a 108-83 victory at TD Garden. The contest was never close, and it was Cleveland’s first loss in 16 days.

It wasn’t exactly stunning that the higher-seeded team won the series opener at home, but the fashion in which they did it definitely wasn’t expected. The Cavs began the conference finals as the favorites, and another second-round sweep made an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals for James feel somewhat inevitable.

Boston might have the right head coach and good enough players to upset Cleveland, though the way they crushed the Cavs should prove to be an anomaly. Here are three predictions for the remainder of the series:

LeBron James won't play that poorly again

Don’t count on James having another game like his 15-point performance on five-of-16 shooting in the series opener. It was easily the worst showing by James during a postseason in which he’s affirmed the idea that he’s, at worst, the second greatest player in NBA history.

For whatever reason, James didn’t quite look like himself in Game 1 of either of Cleveland’s first two playoff series. He came back to score more than 40 points on lights-out shooting in each Game 2, and the same could very well happen against Boston. James is averaging 36.3 points on 58.7 percent shooting this postseason outside of series openers.

The Celtics are more equipped to defend James than any other team in the East because of their ability to switch lengthy defenders onto him, but that doesn’t mean they have the recipe to stop the league’s top star. James shot 53.7 percent against Boston in the regular season. He came two rebounds shy of a triple-double in just 28 minutes as the Cavs blew out the Celtics in their last meeting before the playoffs.

Cleveland’s bench will continue to struggle

If James doesn’t rebound and become the best player in this series by a mile, Cleveland has no chance to advance. The Cavs’ bench has played poorly for the majority of the playoffs, and that will continue against the league’s best defensive team.

The three bench players that Cleveland acquired at the trade deadline have been no help in big games. Jordan Clarkson somehow has managed to total 17 more field-goal attempts than total points, despite playing fewer than 200 playoff minutes. Rodney Hood has missed 15 of his 17 three-point attempts. Larry Nance Jr. hasn’t played a meaningful minute in two weeks.

Maybe Jeff Green will have another surprising series after averaging 12.3 points on 54.8 percent shooting against the Raptors. There really isn’t anyone head coach Tyronn Lue can trust outside of the starting lineup.

Tristan Thompson will get more playing time

Thompson is Cleveland’s best bench player at the moment, but it might not be long before he’s back in the starting lineup. Lue hinted that might be the case for Game 2, and at the very least he should see more time on the court.

Al Horford torched the Cavs for 20 points on eight-of-10 shooting in Game 1, adding six assists and four rebounds. A lot of that damage came with Kevin Love playing center, which gives Cleveland their most explosive offensive lineup but one that’s vulnerable on defense. Boston’s All-Star big man didn’t score in any of Thompson’s 21 minutes, and he gives the Cavs a better chance to survive Boston’s pick-and-roll attack.

When Thompson made his only start of the playoffs in Game 7 against Indiana, he posted 15 points and 10 rebounds as Cleveland advanced to the second round. If the Cavs continue to get burned with their smaller lineup, they’ll look for more minutes from one of the few remaining remnants of their 2016 championship team.