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Cleveland Cavaliers

Living to play ugly for another day

By admin Published: May 16, 2008

Cavs 74, Celtics 69 --This was just horrifying basketball from both sides. But that happens in the playoffs, especially with defensive teams like this. The Cavs scrapped and brought a lot of energy to the table and they were just slighty better across the board. It seems to be the home court difference. --LeBron held this game tight. He never wanted to let go control, especially at the offensive end. He had 32 points and six assists, two that led to 3-pointers. When you add in the passes he made that led to free throws he was responsible for more than 50 of the Cavs' 74 points. He also made some terrible offensive judgments, pulling the ball out like it was Game 5 of the Wizards series all over again. I simply have no idea why in a tight spot inside two minutes with Glen Davis having five fouls and six fewer inches than Zydrunas Ilgauskas that there was nothing done to set him up. Wally Szczerbiak hits that crazy 3-pointer from like 26 feet but it was a bad shot in that spot. LeBron also had eight turnovers. You can live with that because of his ability to make plays, but to win in Boston the Cavs are going to have to figure out a way to compose themselves on offense under pressure. Turnovers have killed them there and stagnant offense will be a loss. LeBron has to realize this, in many ways it is on him. He can make an impact by coming out and whipping the ball around. If I were him, I would not watch any of this game film and instead go back and watch Game 6 in Washington. That was his finest game of this postseason, the Cavs need that again. --I felt the charge LeBron got on Paul Pierce with 49 seconds left was a massive play in the game. I have not seen enough angles to say for sure, but it appeared to be a bad call. LeBron said he thought the ball was out of bounds on him. He's trying to make a play there, but it was risky to maybe put Pierce at the line up just five. He got the whistle, which really upset the Celts. In my opinion it evened out just a bit a few moments later when Wally Szczerbiak was called for a foul on Ray Allen's breakaway. On that play, with the ball hitting the side of the backboard I believe that it was not a goaltend. But I could be wrong. --The Cavs did a strong job on Rajon Rondo, mostly they brought a big man to him to block the paint on pick-and-rolls. Plus he was just not as aggressive getting into the paint as he was in Boston. He will make an adjustment I am sure, but keeping him under control got the Cavs stops they needed to win. --It is fair to criticize Mike Brown for his offense, heck knows I have been doing it for years. But the guy takes so much abuse in this town. His defensive principles are responsible for the win, maybe not as much as the star power of LeBron, but these are the types of games that Mike spends so much time preparing his team for. Perhaps the weaknesses will decide the game Sunday but there are strengths and important ones. The Cavs shot 32 percent and won. Think about that for a minute. --To answer a popular quesion: No, I do know know why Devin Brown isn't playing. Mike has shown that he will live and die with Sasha. He thinks he is more dynamic on offensive and likes his length. Devin is a much better finisher around the rim and runs the offense better and he scraps. But considering Ray Allen isn't making a dent on Sasha or Wally and both are doing OK in limited time on Pierce, I don't think you'll be seeing a chance. Then again, I didn't understand why Damon Jones played tonight. As blog readers know, I think Damon should still have a role on the team, but it wasn't a good idea to just throw him out there. He played tight, getting up two not so good shots in his first minute on the floor, and then he was upset on the bench because his run was so short. But he couldn't stay with Eddie House on a pick-and-roll and that was probably all Mike needed to see. --Kevin Garnett is playing amazing in this series, I am not sure anyone is realizing it. I suppose the Cavs will have to do something about how he's coming off screen rolls and getting open 20-footers. This season he shot around 45 percent on jumpers, which is pretty good, but he seems quite a bit higher in this series. --The Cavs getting 16 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points was key. They have not gotten those rebounds in Boston, it will be important if they are going to have a chance Sunday. --For the next day and a half you will hear about how the Celtics are 15-3 all-time at home in Game 7s. Do you know what that means? Absolutely nothing. They are 7-0 at home in these playoffs, that is what means something. I will have to look this up, but I'll bet there are not many of the key players in this series who have a Game 7 victory in a series on their resume. From the Cavs' perspective, it does not matter than this is the second round. They are playing the No. 1 seed in a one-game shot. They have, in my opinion, the best player. Considering what has happened this season and the circumstances, it is a grand opportunity. I think it will be an extreme challenge, I said after Game 5 that I am not convinced the Cavs as they are currently constructed can beat this Celtics team in a playoff game in Boston. LeBron has proven people wrong for years, this is another chance.
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 Dick Bavetta, Joe DeRosa, Joe Forte
--The loss of Daniel Gibson hurts the Cavs on offense but he's been streaky and not in a good way this series. On defense he was often a target for Rondo to attack. I would not be surprised if LeBron spends some time on Rondo with Sasha Pavlovic and then Devin Brown getting some time as well. Brown can defend both Allen and Pierce as well as Rondo. --The Cavs were very intense before the game, they picked it up a notch. Oh, and Ben Wallace is got the fro going. --It will be interesting to see how much Rondo attacks, he's been a different player on the road in this series. I expect the Cavs to jump out more on screens to try and block his path. --The Cavs need a role player to step up to win the game. I expect the Celtics to push hard to and for all three of their All-Stars to play well. --Z needs to be more involved in the offense. The Celtics have been reading the plays and denying him so I expect some more isos, especially when the backups are in the game.
Halftime -- Cavs 42, Celtics 33
--Horrible ugly first half...which probably favors the Cavs. They took the lead with a 17-2 run to close the half, which was fueled by their defense. The shot at the end of the half by West, though, is an emotional moment. The Cavs need to carry that into the third quarter, which as everyone knows is a challenging time for them. The Celtics will make their push and probably try to do it right away. --The Cavs are shooting just 32 percent but are ahead. How? Terrible offensive execution but combined with defense and offensive rebounding. Which should be slogan of the 2007-08 Cavs. They really defended the basket area well, led by Z and Wallace, both of whom challenged and changed numerous shots around the rim. The Cavs have five blocks and have forced at least five more missed layups with activity. They have 10 offensive rebounds, which kept them in the game in the first quarter. --The offense has been terrible and stagnant. Just five assists and eight turnovers, five of which belong to LeBron. It helped them the game was so junked up because the Celtics lost Z on the perimeter a few times. They are going to have to move the ball more, period. The Celtics will score more than 33 points in the second half. --Ray Allen is getting older my the minute. He cannot stay with Szczerbiak coming off screens, he just grabs him. He tried to dunk and couldn't make it up there and he tried to shoot over Wally and got it blocked right back in his face. This does not bode well for the Celts no matter what happens in this series. --I didn't think Damon Jones should play considering he hasn't played a meaningful minute in a month and it showed in his three minutes on the floor. The Cavs and West are doing a good job on Rondo by blocking his path with a big man on drives. But the matchups may call for some tougher decisions in the second half. --LeBron only rested 1:30 in the first half, that could come back to bite. He has worn down when playing more than 45 minutes in my judgment.
Stars LeBron, 32 points, 12 rebounds, six assists KG, 25 points, eight rebounds
Quotes Doc Rivers: "I thought the charge call on Paul was, well, you guys can take it from there. That's a huge call in this game to make. We played hard. I'm just going to stop there." LeBron: "It was either win or go home, I'm not ready to go home...(Game 7) is going to be electrifying. We'll have to give it all we got. This is really a life or death situation for both teams. You've got to prepare to give it all you got."

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