FINAL: 104, Cavs 86
Boston old? Not by the look of the second half.
Of course it could have had something to do with the Cavs taking the third quarter off. That's not an exaggeration. The Celtics outscored the Cavs 31-12 in the third quarter. There was no defense, no offense and for some inexplicable reason the Cavs thought they could turn it up after being down by 25 points.
Coach Mike Brown said it's not realistic for his team to be perfect for 48 minutes. How about being very good for about 40 without the drama? The reality is you cannot talk like that about your team without it getting back to them.
Sure Brown was irate during the post-game. But at that point it was too little too late.
The Cavs mounted their customary comeback, but it wasn't near enough. They shot 40 percent to Celtics 51 and shot a mere 19 percent from the three-point arc.
HALFTIME: Boston 52, Cavs 48.
Well it's not 11 points, but it's going to be interesting to see how the Cavs come out in this second half. Whenever they've had a decent first half during the regular season, they tended to fall into a lull in the second half. We will see if that trend holds.
There is, however, a distinctly different feeling possesses this game. On more than one occasion it felt as if the Cavs were on the verge of breaking out for a significant run. The fact that they beat back a 13-point Celtics lead says a lot.
One thing that's clear is that the Cavs are trying to focus on limiting Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo's scoring impact. He has 12 assists, but just eight points. In Game 1, he had a near double-double.
Secondly, Doc Rivers is keenly aware that he worked his starting line-up hard in the first game. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett played 39 minutes or more respectively in that game. So far they're on pace to play far below that. He challenged his bench and they're responding.
Cavs vs. Boston Celtics
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).
Officials: Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Ed Malloy.
Adjustments: When asked what guard Mo Williams will do for an encore tonight, coach Mike Brown stated kiddingly but with a hint of seriousness, that he'd like for him to play more consistent defense. That being said, he plans to stick with Williams on Rajon Rondo to open the game. What the heck, as long as you have Shaquille O'Neal to dole out body shot...just kidding... Although Brown would probably like that, the reality is that if Rondo gets off to the start he did in Game 1, the Cavs will have to go to Anthony Parker and off the bench Delonte West. Of course, that in itself creates a matchup problem if Williams ends up on the Celtics' Ray Allen.
The Boston Three Party shot a mere 20-of-51 Saturday night and for the Cavs to expect that to continue would be unrealistice, especially in the case of Pierce. Whether he does depends on one thing - playing time. Boston's bench played poorly the other night forcing Celtics coach Doc Rivers to wear down his starters.
Garnett and Pierce played close to 40 minutes and Ray Allen played close to 45. That will eventually take its toll.