Baynes, Celtics batter James' Cavs

By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent
Aron Baynes has adapted brilliantly to his ever-changing roles asked of him at Boston

Aron Baynes had power dunks and sank a key three-pointer to help power the Boston Celtics to another win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics survived an early pointscoring onslaught by LeBron James to defeat the Cavaliers 107-94 in Boston on Tuesday and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

It is the first time in a decade James has been on a team that lost the first two games of a playoff series.

"We will see what we are made of on Saturday," James, looking ahead to game three in Cleveland, said.

James was sensational in the first quarter, scoring 21 points.

He doubled his total over the rest of the game, finishing the game with a triple-double of 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

But the Celtics' team effort, with six players scoring in double figures, was too much for the Cavaliers.

"We have a group of guys who really believe in each other," Celtics forward Al Horford said.

Australian big man Baynes energised the Celtics off the bench, with two of his three dunks in the first quarter.

He continued his newfound long range shooting with a three-pointer late in the third quarter to put the Celtics up 79-74 and on their way to victory.

Baynes scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds for the game.

Jaylen Brown top-scored for the Celtics with 23 points.

The Cavs led 27-23 at the end of the first quarter and 47-36 at halftime.

James' dominating play was slowed late in the first half when he was attacking the basket and his face collided with the shoulder of Celtics' rookie Jayson Tatum.

James went to the locker room with what the Cavs' medical staff described as a sprained neck, but when he returned to the court he did not have the same impact.

It was a highly physical game, which exploded late in the fourth quarter when Cavs guard JR Smith shoved Horford in the back going up for a dunk.

Boston's Marcus Smart and Smith had to be separated, with both hit with technical fouls.

"I felt it was uncalled for," Horford, describing Smith's shove that catapulted him off the court, said.

Smart described Smith as a bully with a history of committing cheap shots.

"It was a dirty shot," Smart said.

"You can't allow that to happen."

In the Western Conference Finals, the Houston Rockets host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in game two.

The Warriors lead the series 1-0.