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Five thoughts from Game 1 of Celtics/Cavaliers

Posted by Bill Koch on May 2, 2010

LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers did exactly what they were supposed to do against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. Cleveland came from behind and protected its home floor by winning Game 1 of its Eastern Conference semifinal series with Boston, 101-93. The Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead in what could turn out to be a grueling best-of-7 series – or maybe not so grueling if the Celtics don’t overcome a couple of key hurdles. Here are five thoughts from the opener:

*  I’d love to be hurt like LeBron James is hurt right now. King James led all scorers with 35 points on a 12-for-24 effort from the field, all while nursing a sore right elbow that he favored throughout the first half and into the fourth quarter. James didn’t look the least bit bothered while he was burning Paul Pierce off the dribble and displayed a key difference between descriptions of aches and pains – he’s hurt, not injured. Everyone is hurt this time of year. Quit sandbagging us, LeBron. You’re a great player already and everybody knows it. Don’t try to make your achievements seem that much more heroic.

*  Pierce showed his age in Game 1. He was a woeful 5-for-17 from the field, a team-worst minus-14 during his 39 minutes and the same defensive liability that he was last season when Michael Pietrus made him look old and slow while Orlando was eliminating the Celtics. Boston needs more from its captain if it wants to upset Cleveland.

*  Mo Williams vs. Rajon Rondo is the key matchup in this series. The Cavaliers trailed by 11 midway through the third quarter when Williams, who was invisible to that point, dunked on Pierce to ignite the Cleveland crowd and key the Cavaliers’ comeback with the first two of his 10 straight Cleveland points. Williams finished with 20 points, six assists and just one turnover in 40 minutes, almost neutralizing another brilliant performance by Rondo (team-high 27 points, 12 assists). If Williams can play almost even with or a little better than Rondo, Boston is in big trouble. Rondo killed the Miami Heat during the Celtics’ 4-1 win in the quarterfinals.

*  Boston’s bench was worthless on Saturday. Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, Tony Allen, Michael Finley and Glen Davis combined to play just 45 minutes and chipped in just 12 points. This unit is a far cry from the James Posey-Eddie House-P.J. Brown-Sam Cassell group that helped the Celtics capture Banner 17, and they were exposed against Cleveland’s deep reserves. J.J. Hickson was an efficient 5-for-7 and scored 11 points in 12 minutes and former Boston guard Delonte West scored eight points in 27 minutes.

*  The Celtics’ third quarter troubles returned on Saturday night. Cleveland posted a 36-24 advantage over Boston in a 12-minute span that turned the game around, wiping out its entire 11-point halftime deficit. Clearly Doc Rivers’ halftime adjustments didn’t work – surprise, surprise.


One Response to “Five thoughts from Game 1 of Celtics/Cavaliers”

  1. sean said

    they settled for so many terrible shots it was sickening. the fact that lebron james basically took over and won the game making circus shots and 3 pointers does give me hope though – the circus shots might still be there sometimes but he will not shoot like that from the perimeter all series. better shots and better TEAM defense on the king and they can be alright – orlando is an entirely different story.

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