What a Tease: Cavs 108, Celtics 88
Posted by Brendan Jackson on Feb 25, 2010
Cavs The Blog Fear The Sword
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Wasn’t it? That Celtics had fans on their feet for the entire second half only to have the gas run out of their offensive tank. With 2:50, Doc Rivers made wholesale substitutions, taking the starters out and putting in the end of the bench to compliment Nate Robinson- but they rolled over way before that.
By the time the fourth quarter came around, the Celtics had all but laid down and kissed the feet of the Cleveland Cavaliers as if to say, “thanks for letting us make it interesting for a half.”
And interesting it was. The Celtics led in almost every statistical category going into halftime. Rondo looked like a man on a mission, asserting himself on the offensive end and imposing his will with penetration. LeBron James was the only Cavalier to really get it going in the first half, making nearly all of his spot up jumpers with hands in his face.
I don’t know about you, but I was out of my seat for the first half. I was all jazzed up watching Ray Allen stroke it from downtown, going 4-5 from deep. Rasheed Wallace was also abusing Anderson Varejao on the block and Glen Davis manhandled (literally) Shaquille O’Neal.
Once Shaq went down with what was described as a “severely sprained thumb” (sound familiar?) the Cavaliers were able to speed up the tempo and space the floor. The absolute turning point in the game came in the third when LeBron hit a stationary spot up three with Marquis Daniels right up on him. LeBron’s three cut the Celtics’ lead to six and I remembering noting, “here it is, game over.” Terrible feeling.
And due to that terrible feeling, I’m going with bullets from here on out:
- A really bizarre thing happened at the end of the first half. With 1:05 to go, LeBron James cut in from the wing and took it strong to the bucket, made a jump stop, and proceeded to get stuffed by the rim. During halftime I re-watched this play a half a dozen times and cannot, for the life of me, figure out where his lift went. I looked for a bump that would have thrown him off balance- there was none. I looked for a swipe that maybe impeded his explosion- none to be found. It was really eerie. Like looking 12 years into the future when LeBron shouldn’t really be playing any more due to being a shadow of his former self. Just a huge guy with no lift. Still dominant posting players up and shooting fade-away jump shots, but not much else. Maybe it’s because I cover the Celtics and don’t have ‘Bron under a microscope, but seeing this was unsettling. You can torch the Celtics for 36 LeBron, but I’m still going to ask you what the hell happened on that one.
- The Cavs went with some interesting lineups in this game. For a run in the second quarter, the Cavs had Antawn Jamison, J.J. Hickson, and Anderson Varejao in all at the same time. I suppose the argument is, Jamison can hit threes, so he’s the small forward. And Hickson’s really athletic and active on the glass so he’s the power forward. And Varajao has terrible hair so he must be the center. Really though, all of these guys are power forwards. The weirdest part of the whole thing, was Ray Allen guarding J.J. Hickson. Whattt? If you have the game DVR’d, watch it again- it’ll blow your mind.
- Rondo has a hero-complex. I’ll write about this more later on in the week, but Rondo wants the ball in his hands for the last seconds of any quarter regardless of the type of shot- which is both annoying and commendable. I like the fact that Rondo isn’t afraid of destroying his shooting percentage (HA! What shooting percentage?) but I also don’t like the fact that he could be wasting better looks from his teammates.
- This isn’t anything new, but Rasheed Wallace will not ever take a charge for this team. He just won’t. I don’t ever remember ‘Sheed taking a charge on purpose, but if you ever thought playing “Celtics basketball” would get ‘Sheed to bend his knees, get that thought out of your head.
- Garnett had an overall poor showing. 10, 10, and 5 might look nice on paper, but he missed a lot of shots he should and does usually make. None worse than a five foot bunny he missed with five minutes to go in the game. Hickson even backed off on Garnett and he whiffed it.
- Nate Robinson looked nice in the first half, but only got a run in the fourth when the game was out of reach. I can’t tell if my thirst for a Celtics’ energy boost will be quenched with the Nate-orade, but I’m not willing to give up trying to drink it.
- I know the Celtics got smacked in the mouth tonight, but I expected a little more love and respect for Leon Powe- especially coming off potential career ending injury with which he tried to finish a game for the Celtics. The fan reception when he entered the game was pretty weak as well. The best thing he got was a hand offered to him at the end by a Rob Reiner look-alike. Sheesh Boston, we’re better than that.