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Gameblog: Cavs vs. Celtics - Updated with Audio

By George Thomas Published: January 9, 2009

Post-game audio - Mike Brown and LeBron James on the victory over the Celtics:   boston-post-game
Pre-game audio:  brown-rivers
Post mortem:
Cavs 98, Celtics 83
All week the media heard and reported that this game had no more meaning than any other.  The Cavaliers, although the did so, cannot say that with a straight face after whipping on Celtics in a physical game.
They got this win with grit and hard-nosed defense in on of those games LeBron James refused to lose and he displayed that offensively and defensively in his best performance of the year with 38 points, seven rebounds, six assists and topping it off four steals and three blocked shots.
It was a night when his defense would prove as important as his offense as James, with some help, locked up Paul Pierce for most of the night.  Pierce only scored 11 points for the Celtics as James pretty much disarmed him in the game.
The numbers won't tell the story, but James had plenty of help from teammates who scrapped for balls, fought for rebounds and contested shots.  Overall the Cavs had seven blocks and an eye-popping 14 steals. 
Defense won the game for them.  It's that simple.   Was it a message game?  Maybe, but messages tend to matter when they're tied to more tangible results than a win in a single game.
Quotable:
From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on LeBron James' performance:
I know offensively he did a whale of a job carrying us, especially when we were stagnant and stalled out. 
LeBron James on the effect of the fans:
Tonight when Ben was making free throws and we were making runs, it was great.  Much respect to the Cavaliers fans.  They were unbelievable.
At the half:  Cavs 49, Celtics 40
Watching this game, you can't help but think that Cavs should be ahead by a wider margin.  In several intances, they created turnovers only to give the ball right back to the Celtics.
The Cletics are winning this game in almost every category, except one - shooting.  They're beating the Cavs in second-chance points and rebounds.  What's hurt them:  14 percent shooting from the three-point arc while the Cavs have hit on 57 percent of their overall shots.
Game:  Cavs (28-6) vs. Celtics (29-8)
Broadcast:  TV: FSOhio, ESPN. Radio:  WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs:  LeBron James (F), Ben Wallace (F); Anderson Varejao (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G): Celtics:  Paul Pierce (F); Kevin Garnett (F); Kendrick Perkins (C); Ray Allen (G); Rajon Rondo (G).
Inactives-injured: Cavs:  Eric Snow (knee); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ankle).  Celtics:  Tony Allen (right ankle sprain).
Streaking:   The Cavs are defending an 18-game home winning streak. They've won one overall.   The Celtics have lost three-in-a-row. Officials: 
Three things to watch: 

  • LeBron James vs. Paul Pierce - They can try to sugarcoat it all they want, but these two feed off one another and it's not exactly a lovefest. Go back to the classic duel in last year's playoffs. James has nothing to prove, but he's focused and realizes that this isn't just another game. Pierce has averaged more than 28 points over the past three games.
  • Ben Wallace vs. Kevin Garnett - Wallace has to do his best to keep Garnett on the perimeter, making him work for his shots, preferably keeping him on the perimeter and off the boards where he averages close to nine rebounds per game.
  • Mo Williams vs. Rajon Rondo - You can put the Celtics recent struggles, losing 6-of-8 on the play of point guard Rajon Rondo.  He's most dangerous when driving to the hoop and dishing off the ball.  On the season he averages 7.5 assists per game. However in the past three he's averaged approximately 4.6 assists per game.  Williams has to keep him from driving the lane.
Quotable:
From the coach's office:
Doc Rivers on who the Celtics respect other than LeBron James:  
(Anderson) Varejao to me is a very important player to their team and I don’t think people give him enough due.  It’s not just his defensive stuff, it’s his offense.  LeBron gets everybody shots, but I think Varejao’s energy gets them shots as well. We can’t lose sight of him.
From the locker room:
Mo Williams on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo:
We do totally opposite things. He’s more in the lane, trying to get to the basket tonight on penetration.  I do that, but I can shoot the ball better than he can…He can finish around the basket better than I can. 
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