Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Boston Celtics”

This is Fun, Yes?

Cavs fans were left disappointed after last year’s playoffs. But it wasn’t so much because the Cavs lost in the Eastern Conference Finals, but because the team had so few home playoff games.

With homecourt advantage for the entire playoffs, just like this year, Cavs fans were looking at a potential 16 home playoff games if the team went to Game 7 of the finals. But thanks to sweeps in the first (Detroit) and second (Atlanta) rounds, and the eventual loss to Orlando, fans were only treated to seven home games.

Well, the Cavs are working on fixing that problem this year.

Following the Game 4 loss to Boston, the Cavs are heading home for Tuesday’s Game 5 – the sixth playoff game at home already this postseason. And more home games means more opportunities to appreciate a team coming off its second consecutive 60-win season and featuring a two-time MVP in LeBron James.

At least I think that’s the plan, right?

When the Cavs have come ready to play in this series, they have shown they are clearly a superior team to Boston. Even with all the hysteria over the play of Rajon Rondo, that’s not why the series is tied 2-2. In both Boston wins, it was bench players Rasheed Wallace (Game 2) and Tony Allen (Game 4) who had once-a-year games that made the difference.

Wallace hit the Hot Tub Time Machine in Game 2, scoring 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. In the other three games, he’s scored a total of seven points.

Allen scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in Game 4, after scoring just 19 total points in the first three games.

Safe to say that neither of them are going to match that output the rest of the series.

And, before this series ends, someone will deliver a playoff foul on Rondo to slow him down.

And Mo Williams (31 percent) and Delonte West (33 percent) are certainly going to start shooting better than they have over the past three games.

There are plenty of more home games left before this postseason comes to a close.


The James Gang Returns

“I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished … was accomplished collectively.” – Golda Meir

As the Cavs prepare for Game 4 today against Boston, there are several positive signs that the team has finally entered playoff mode.

In Game 3, LeBron James showed the Celtics why he is the league’s MVP. James scored 21 points in the first quarter to break the will of Boston and the crowd – handing Boston its worst home playoff loss EVAH and retaking home court advantage.

Just as important was the Cavs remembering what they are – a defense-first team that is clearly superior to the Celtics. And it was a team effort that carried the Cavs in Game 3.

The Cavs defense returned as the Celtics missed 10 of their first 13 shots and shot only 27 percent in the first quarter. The Cavs held them to 42 percent shooting for the game and outrebounded Boston by 15. James once again used Paul Pierce as his personal whipping boy, holding the Celtics alleged top gun to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. For the series, Pierce is shooting 13-of-42 as he is completely unable to deal with LeBron on either end of the court.

Anthony Parker’s work on Rajon Rondo was huge and helped swing the series back in Cleveland’s favor. Sticking to the Celtics’ shooters was also key, as the Cavs were able to force Boston to settle for outside shots that were not falling.

Shaq had his best game of the series, Antawn Jamison was back to doing what he does best, and the guard trio of Mo Williams, Delonte West and Parker were solid.

Boston knows they have a huge problem on their hands. The question is, with only one day off to fix things and rest their tired legs, will it make any difference?

The Cavs have a chance today to put a lock on this series with a win. If they bring the team effort again from the opening tip, they have a very real chance to come home for Tuesday night’s game up 3-1.

And there’s no telling what they can accomplish going forward if they work together.

10 wins to go.

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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