BOSTON – Opening night, at last. Coupled with the fact that the Cavs vs. Celtics is on national TV and this is should be fun to watch. It’s rare when there’s drama associated with the first game of the season, but the Celtics raise their championship banner and get their rings tonight. The Cavaliers said that they won’t be on the court to watch. That I believe. You only have to look into LeBron James’ eyes to see that will be the case
What I do not believe, however, is that it won’t serve as an incentive for the Cavaliers. Given that they came thisclose to ousting them in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, there is incentive there to win it. You only have to look to that first preseason game to see just how competitive this will get. The game came down to the wire and the Cavs showed intensity normally reserved for regular season games. No amp that up.
Game: Cavaliers (0-0) vs. Boston Celtics (0-0)
TV: 8 p.m., TNT
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: Mo Williams (G); Delonte West (G); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F).
Celtics: Ray Allen (G); Rajon Rondo (G); Kendrick Perkins (C); Paul Pierce (F); Kevin Garnett (F)
Three things to watch:
Delonte West is in the shooting guard spot tonight look to see how he performs there. Coach Mike Brown said more than once that West plays bigger than he is primarily because of his toughness, long gangly arms and the afro.
Also take note of the different pace the Cavaliers have on the offensive side of ball with Mo Williams at the point guard. It will be interesting to see if the team – including LeBron James – has the confidence in him to allow him to run the offense, or will we see more of the get-the-ball-to-LeBron-and-let-him-go offense?
It won’t be known until later in the season, but there should be some signal tonight of how the loss of James Posey affects the Celtics. His would be replacement Tim Allen said that he’s up to the task, but Posey often provided the team a spark off the bench. That’s not easily replaced by just anyone. The consensus of the beat writers – the Celtics lost a little bit by losing Posey and the Cavs gained a little by adding Williams.
From the coach’s office:
Mike Brown on the difficulty in getting minutes for Sasha Pavlovic and Wally Szczerbiak:
‘If you ever figure it out, let me know.”
On LeBron James playing power forward:
"We have slotted time for him to be at the four every game, which will give us the opportunity to look at him there and we have different combination of guys who will play along side him…If we like it, it’s something we may got to at the end of the game."
On J.J. Hickson’s recent transgression and what he learned:
Yes, it’s done. He has to continue to learn and grow on the court, but while we’re going to give him some time to learn and grow on the court, the little things that he has to take care of off the court will always be there.
In the locker room:
(Zydrunas Ilgauskas on preseason being done):
It’s been a long month and a lot of hard work was put in, but it’s been good for us. We stayed from major injuries for the most part. Guys got some playing time, got in better shape and got a feel for each other, so it’s been a good training camp.
(Daniel Gibson on the Batman logo cut into his hair):
“It’s Halloween. It’s that time of year, so I thought I’d do something different.”
Big shock: ugly early season basketball. GIve the Cavaliers credit for playing defense and holding the Celtics to under 45 percent shooting. On any other night, that might be good enough, but not tonight.
Why? Turnovers. Coach Mike Brown set a goal of under 13 TOs per game. The Cavaliers gave the ball away 21 times on the night. The second problem? Shots didn't fall with any regularity. Example: they shot an abysmal 20 percent from three-point arc (3-of-15) LeBron James never fully got into a rhythm despite some nice moments.
Credit the Celtics with interrupting their offensive flow. The Cavs moved the ball nicely in the first half - in the second, not so much as Boston clamped down on the defensive side of the ball.
James said the Cavs played well enough to win. The score says otherwise.
Mike Brown on turnovers:
‘’We are trying to play the game faster and yes we’re turning the ball over, (but) we’ve got to get to the point where we understand that we don’t want this to be a rat race. We’ll lose a lot of games if it’s a rat race."
LeBron James on the loss:
’We played well; the effort was there,’’ he said. ‘’There’s some things that we could change, but all in all we played well, but they played better and they got a win.’’
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