HALF: Celtics 54, Cavs 45
If the Cavs are planning to flip the switch, I suggest it begin now. They are getting outplayed across the board with the Celtics killing them shooting, as they hunker down on defense. But it's the points in the paint, second chance points and fastbreak points that are killing the Cavs. This isn't a lack of intensity thing, it's a being-outplayed-thing.
LeBron James, despite his 13 points, is playing passively and didn't start to drive the ball until late in the second quarter.
And Rajon Rondo has already matched Game 3's output already as the Cavs seem to have NO answer for him at this point.
Game: Cavs at Boston Celtics
TV: ABC (WEWS Channel 5)
Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Shaquille O’Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Celtics: Paul Pierce (F); Kevin Garnett (F); Kendrick Perkins (C); Ray Allen (G); Rajon Rondo (G).
Cavs: LeBron James (elbow) and Anderson Varejao (back spasms) are probable.
Celtics: Kevin Garnett (mid-foot sprain), Kendrick Perkins (hyperextended knee) are probable.
Officials: Joe DeRosa, Mike Callahan, Michael Smith.
Coach Mike Brown listened to some advice from an advance scout and his team members and picked Rajon Rondo up at full court. That along with Anthony Parker's defense helped to slow the Boston guard down. In two games Rondo averaged 15.5 assists, in the third he got just eight.
Obviously Boston coach Doc Rivers will look to nullify that. Look for the Celtics to try to get into their offense faster. Without Rondo to kick the ball out after penetrating, Ray Allen isn't as successful getting off those lightning quick shots. Yes, for the the Cavs, that's a good thing.
But Rondo isn't the sole important piece to this puzzle. The Celtics will likely try to get forward Paul Pierce going. Pierced averaged 19.7 points in the opening round of the playoffs, but is averaging seven points less in this series. Last game he got his shots, but went just 4-of-15.
The Cavs have to continue what they started Friday night. That game represented their best effort in the playoffs to date. Brown has looked for 48 consistent minutes of play, he probably got 45 Friday night. He'll take it.
LeBron James had his best outing in that game, but two things happened in Game 3, that hadn't before - forward Antawn Jamison got things going with 20 points and 12 rebounds and center Shaquille O'Neal (12 points) found some semblence of rhythm in the game.