Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

How do you like it – Mo, Mo, Mo

Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy.

Trailing by 11 in the third quarter and on their way to losing homecourt advantage – just like they did last year against Orlando – the Cavs roared back after Mo Williams dunked on Paul Pierce in the third quarter, igniting the team as it went on to post a victory in the opening game of the series.

The Cavs went on a 21-9 run to end the quarter after Mo’s dunk – his first as a Cavalier and part of his 14-point third quarter – to take the lead. The Cavs closed out the game with a 43-24 run and completely shut down the Celtics in the fourth quarter, holding Pierce to three points, Kevin Garnett to two points and Ray Allen to zero in the final quarter. Nice work from the self-proclaimed “Big 3” for Boston.

This was a big game for Mo as his struggles last year in the playoffs really hurt the Cavs. Maybe he’s finally refinding his place back in the offense following the acquisition of Antawn Jamison.

There were several positives the Cavs can take from this game and, if they continue like this, should make it a short series:

  • They held Pierce to just 5-of-17 shooting
  • Garnett took 20 shots, which I’ll take every day
  • The Cavs bench had a 26-12 advantage
  • Shaq delivered a couple of playoff fouls on Rajon Rondo and split Kendrick Perkins’ lip open with an elbow
  • The Cavs held Boston to 31 percent shooting following Mo’s dunk

There were some bad things, though, that if they continue will stretch this series out:

  • Rondo scored 27 points. If he keeps up that pace the Cavs will be in trouble
  • Shaq had early foul trouble
  • Shaq, Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker combined to go 7-of-21 from the field
  • Boston shot 52 percent from the field in building their 11-point lead.

And not to beat a deadhorse, but the Cavs missed 10 free throws during the game. So far, in six playoff games, the Cavs have missed 52 free throws. Considering they only missed two in Game 2 against the Bulls, that means they are missing, on average, 10 free throws a game. There’s no way they can continue to leave points on the floor like that and not have it eventually come back to bite them.

The Game 1 win does look good, though, as the Cavs are 10-0 in seven-game series when they win the opening game.

Game 2 is Monday night at the Q.

11 more wins to go.

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