BOSTON — Cavaliers forward LeBron James said he just needed a chance to “recalibrate” when he left in the second quarter Tuesday night after taking a shot to the jaw from Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
“It was a tough play. Obviously incidental,” James said after the Celtics beat Cleveland 107-94 to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals despite his 42 points and a triple-double. “His shoulder hit me square in the jaw. It didn’t affect my game after that.”
James was driving to the basket when Tatum went for the steal with both hands and collided with the Cleveland star, driving his shoulder into James’ jaw. James spent about 10 seconds on one knee under the basket, then walked off to the Cleveland locker room after shooting the free throws.
He returned a few minutes later and finished out the half with what the Cavaliers said was a strained neck.
“I felt like I needed to go back to the locker room, which I did, and kind of recalibrate,” James said.
Asked if he was checked for a concussion, he said: “I was checked for multiple things, and I passed them all. That’s why I was able to come back and finish the half.”
After scoring just 15 points in Boston’s Game 1 blowout, James had 21 in the first quarter on Tuesday night. He finished with 12 assists and 10 rebounds, but also had six turnovers.
The Celtics won the first two games at home, and the series heads to Cleveland for Game 3 on Saturday.
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