That Was Easy

Boston wins 89-73. LeBron James still a non-factor.

There’s really no other way to describe this game. From start to finish, a total defensive domination by the Celtics.

LeBron shot 6-24 from the field for a completely inconsequential 21 points, and his teammates were ill-equipped to pick up the slack.

But enough about Cleveland. The Celtics got off to an awful start, showing no rhythm on offense. In fact, they were having a hard time just getting shots off, allowing Cleveland to jump out to a 24-17 lead after one, highlighted by a sick LeBron James dunk that had the crowd oohing and ahhing.

(I should note that Cleveland’s Ben Wallace collapsed on the bench at around the 8 minute mark. It was officially called dizziness, and he did not return).

But that same jacked up crowd (featuring Leo DiCaprio, Adalius Thomas, Laurence Maroney, Lenny Clarke, and JoJo) helped the Celtics rebound. The super subs Cassell, Posey, and Powe (CP2?) led the charge. Posey’s hustle on both ends of the floor kept LeBron in check and gained the Celtics some much needed rebounds. After a steal, Posey ran the floor for an electric dunk that gave the Celtics their first lead, 28-27 with 7:14 to play.

Kevin Garnett returned shortly thereafter, and sparked the run that helped the Celtics really put the game away. With 2:37 to go, Cassell stole the ball and passed it ahead to KG for a thunderous slam, plus a foul on Delonte West. The crowd, and Garnett, went ballistic. As the half wound down, there was perhaps a symbolic moment when former Celtic Wally Szczerbiak tripped and fell, and Kendrick Perkins simply stepped on him as he moved on defense. That’s what happened from this point on, the Celtics stepped on the Cavaliers.

After the half, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen came out on fire (both rebounding from terrible Game 1 performances), while LeBron simply could not get the ball. The Celtics methodically built a 20-point lead and you know what that means: Gino Time!

The Cavaliers just do not have any offensive options when LeBron is missing (or not getting) shots. At one point, in the second quarter, they had a LeBron-less lineup featuring Anderson Varejao (known for his defensive energy), Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson, Delonte West, and Joe Smith. Who are you afraid of in that group. That’s right: no one.

In theory, the Celtics should go to Cleveland and sweep away this series. But we thought that in the Atlanta series and look at what happened. I have a feeling that they will be more focused this time around to prevent another scenario like that one.

Mike Dowling is heading to Cleveland tomorrow. Look for his live reports this weekend on NewsCenter 5 at 6 and 11, as well as on SportsCenter 5 OT Sunday night at 11:25. We’ll also be joined by former Celtic Dana Barros. Don’t miss it!

-Si

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