Well, THAT didn’t go well. Hmmm, I thought without KG the Cavs were supposed to win this game. Instead, they weren’t even that close. That’s not good. LeBron didn’t have a good game, the bench didn’t step up and the defense simply wasn’t there. The Cavs were close for a stretch in the third (they even tied it up at 57) but Boston immediately went on a run and the Cavs never sniffed the lead again.
Not saying this is all on LeBron, but… James was 5-15 from the floor and finished with 21 points, 6 boards and 5 assists. He seemed to settle for outside jumpers, he started off poorly (missing an early breakaway dunk) and he just never seemed to find his groove. There’d be moments where he’d hit a big 3 and you’d think he’s turning it around, but then he’d settle for 4 more jumpers and the Cavs wouldn’t make a run. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce shot 11-22 and lead everyone with 29 points. There’s a lot of blame to go around in this loss, but the fact of the matter is, the Cavs aren’t going to win in Boston if LeBron has a poor game. They just aren’t. Hell, they don’t win in Boston when he has a good game, they can’t overcome a 5-15 night against the good teams on the road.
Mo was pretty solid. Williams shot the ball extremely well, going 8-15 from the floor, 4-5 from downtown and making all 6 of his free throw attempts. Mo ended the night with 26 points, 4 boards and 2 assists. The scoring was good, but I’d have liked to see him get a few more assists, especially since guys were having trouble getting going. Mo’s offensive game was pretty good, but he got burned more than once defensively (though he’s hard alone in the regard).
Some of these stats surprise me. While watching the game, I would’ve sworn that the Celtics were killing the Cavs on the boards; it seemed like everytime the Cavs needed a rebound off of a stop, the Celts grabbed a long offensive board. But I look at the stats? Boston 36 boards, Cleveland 35. Hm. Also, the entire game I’m bitching about all the jump shots, but again, I see the box score and Cleveland has 38 free throws- they made just 26- (Boston had just 12, the same number as LeBron). Some other disconcerting stats: the Celtics shot 54% from the floor, they had 31 assists on 45 baskets (hence their lack of free throws, they just got easy baskets). Now, there were stretches where Boston was just making tough shots/the bounces went their way, but for the most part, the Cavs let them have whatever they wanted.
Somehow Leon Powe had 20 points. Seriously guys, what the hell? How the fuck does Leon freakin Powe go 9-11 from the field (wait, I can answer that, he’s shooting the ball 3 feet from the rim every time down the court). Powe and recently aquired Mikki Moore gave Boston some great energy off the bench and the Cavs had no answer.
The Cleveland bench struggled. Joe Smith was mediocre in his first game (admittingly a tough first game), going just 3-8 from the field (kinda felt he had an ichy trigger finger) for 7 points while pulling down 5 boards. Wally was OK offensively (4 points, 3 boards, 2-3 FG) but got crushed defensively (Boston just went right at him, at one point he was guarding Paul Pierce- not good). J.J. Hickson looked like a rookie; he looked really nervous and seemed to be rushing things. And Boobie Gibson, well, he had a fairly empty 17 minutes of court time (3 points, 1 board, 1 assist), he’s basically playing for his playoff minutes right now (he got burned on the defensive end as well).
The rest of the Cleveland starters did alright. Actually, LeBron was the starter that struggled the most. Z was 4-8 from the floor for 12 points (but just 4 boards from the big fella). Both Z and LeBron stepped in when Big Baby took Anderson Varejao down by his head on a layup (flagrant II), which I liked to see. Z seemed to be frustrated by the call and various Celtics for most of the game (he got whistled for some ticky-tack bullshit). The recipient of Big Baby’s wrath, Varejao, had an alright game. He was really active on the pick and roll and finished 5-8 from the floor (and 5-9 from the line) for 15 points and 5 boards. And Delonte didn’t score enough (just 5 points) but I thought he at least attacked the Boston D and didn’t settle for jumpers. Brother Red was just 2-5 from the floor but had 8 assists and 6 boards.
Forget about it, you get to face D.Wade tonight. Great. The truth of the matter is, Boston needed that game more than the Cavs did. If Cleveland wins, then they’re leading the season series 2-1 with a game left in Cleveland (where Boston gets blown out). Neither the Cavs or Celtics have won in the opponent’s building in something like the last 14 games. The Cavs are still in a good spot, but I’m growing more and more uncomfortable with these crappy games against good teams. But there’s no rest for the weary, the Cavs get to travel back to Cleveland for a game rematch with the Heat. After Saturday’s game, the Cavs go out West for a quick jaunt against the Clippers (Tuesday), the Suns (Thursday) and the Kings (Friday).