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Cleveland Cavaliers

Big Ben gets well, so do Cavs

By admin Published: May 10, 2008

Cavs 108, Celtics 94 --Definitely a get well game. Not a surprise at all that the Cavs won, every lower seed has won Game 3 at home in the second round, but they way they jumped ahead and stayed ahead was surprising. I think it is a reminder that the Celtics are vincible and that when the Cavs move the ball they have a chance to score points. They will not shot 54 percent like this very much, but they can get better shots than they were getting in Boston. --LeBron didn't shoot the ball well again and that is an issue. At some point he is going to have to make the mid-range jumper to punish Boston for giving it to him. He's not a great jump shooter, but this season he was very much improved from the mid-range and he's yet to show it. More important tonight was his four steals, three blocks and only two turnovers. He managed to be a playmaker without scoring much. That is the sign of a superstar. His block on Rajon Rondo when he basically ripped the ball out of the air was amazing. I've watched him block shots over the top like that since he was 15, opposing players just aren't used to dealing with his athleticism. By the way, this was an awful night for Rondo, LeBron messed him up a few times and he had no assists in 23 minutes. A reminder he's a role player that is streaky, too, just like many Cavs. --As I mentioned at halftime, I felt Ben Wallace was a major difference-maker. That is the type of game where he can make an impact. The scoring was a bonus. But he had seven offensive rebounds, blocked two shots and took two charges as well. --What was more amazing from Zydrunas Ilgauskas tonight: his career playoff high six assists or the dribble drive layup down the lane when, believe it or not, he did not travel. --It was a little comical that James Posey was getting booed in his hometown. I guess don't mess with LeBron in Cleveland. He probably didn't mean to do it, but it was flagrant. --Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West played well tonight. That's great. Let me see it again before I give a great deal of credit. --The Cavs defense has been pretty solid throughout the series. I think Garnett has been great and he was tonight, but Wally is doing a nice job staying with Ray Allen, who I thought was going to have a big series. He's not getting the ball much and he's almost never getting clean looks. Paul Pierce is having to work very hard to get shots, too. The Celtics defense is getting a lot of attention, but the Cavs have not let them crack 90 points yet and Boston is shooting just 41 percent for the series. --This was an expected win, Game 4 will decide whether this is going to be a series or not. The Celtics are starting to fell heat again because of their road troubles and the fact that the Pistons look like they could close out the Magic very soon.
Recap:
Pregame
Starting lineups
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins Cavs: Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Officials Bennett Salvatore, Jim Clark, Greg Williard
--Ben Wallace is feeling better and is going to give it a go. He did not take part in shootaround this morning and said his head has felt like it's been in a "wash cycle." He said he's been OK when he's sitting but not so foot on his feet. So we'll see. --The Cavs may look to spread the floor some more, but more than anything the Cavs just need to hit some shots. The Celtics defense has been good, but they are allowing LeBron to take 15-20 footers and he's got to make more than one out of every five. --Mike Brown has made a point for the team to finish plays more, in other words, keep passing the ball. The guy who usually stops it is LeBron, so we'll see if he does. Against the Wizards in Game 6, his ball movement was excellent and he had 13 assists.
Halftime -- Cavs 52, Celtics 35
--I thought the energy Ben Wallace brought to start the game was huge for the Cavs, it energized the team and the fans. They only gave him credit for three rebounds, but it seemed like more and his activity led to numerous points. --Anderson Varejao has a bruised knee, which happened on the drive when he was called for a charge. He's questionable to return. --The Cavs have 16 assists on 19 baskets. Most of all, they are just making shots which is why there is such a turn around. But they are moving the ball much better and it is leading to higher percentage shots. That and karma is throwing them a few extra bounces. --Because it happened at high speed it looked bad and LeBron milked it because he was on the ground, but I don't really think James Posey was trying to hurt LeBron on the flagrant foul. Which is the fourth LeBron has absorbed this postseason by the way. In the past Posey has committed very hard fouls in the postseason, even getting kicked out of a game when he was with the Heat if memory serves me. --LeBron has continued struggling with his shot, but the Cavs have really let Delonte West run things and it has kept the offense from being bogged down. But LeBron has five assists, which shows he too is looking to pass. --The defensive play when Paul Pierce took a charge from James on a fastbreak was one of the best defensive plays I've seen this season. But LeBron made it easier with a bad angle. --The Cavs are shooting 66 percent, which I don't think can last. They are going to need to continue to play good defense to maintain the lead. Their rotations in the first half were excellent, which led to the Celtics taking lots of contested shots. But the Cavs also got a little loose with the ball at the end of the half, committing seven turnovers in the last eight minutes. That has to stop. --Wally Szczerbiak seems like he's just gotten a bit of a hot hand with 14 points. But he was also successful on posting up. He's going to get 1-on-1 post ups with smaller guys, that should be used more often because the Celtics are just fouling him as well. Wally played so well that Devin Brown and Sasha Pavlovic did get off the bench. At the end of the half, LeBron thought he was doing the interview with ABC but they wanted Wally. It was a little awkward for a second.
Postgame
Stars LeBron, 21 points, seven assists Delonte West, 21 points, seven assists Joe Smith, 17 points, six rebounds KG, 17 points, nine rebounds
Quotes
LeBron: "I haven't shot the ball like I like, but a win is all that matters. Even if I am not making shots, I'm able to do more. It was just key that other guys stepped up.. I can't allow my shot to affect the way I play the game. Every shot I took tonight I felt was going in and I made some key shots during the course of the game."
Ben Wallace: "I think everybody knew what we were facing tonight, so everybody stepped up and did whatever they could do to help this team win tonight. That’s what basketball is all about."

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