The Celtics did not play well against the Cavs. They shot only 43% and allowed the Cavs to shoot 48%. They were out rebounded 47-40 and it seemed as though, for most of the game, the Cavs wanted the game more and got the win 109-104.
There were a couple of bright spots. Perk played well and played great defense. Ray Allen's shot seems to be on its way back to normal. And Big Baby played very well and made an impression with 8 points and 2 rebounds in just 6 minutes of play. He won the Tommy Award for his efforts.
There were also a few things that really bothered me. Doc went small with Ilgauskas and Gooden both in the game. Doc should have had either Pollard or Perk in the middle at all times when Z was in there. Also Ray Allen played 49 minutes on a sore ankle, Pierce played 44 minutes and KG played 43 minutes. Doc has got to stop over playing these guys. I would rather lose a couple more games early, give the bench more playing time to get more experience together and give these guys a break.
KG took only 2 shots in the last 9 minutes and 14 seconds of regulation and he took only 2 shots in OT. We should be getting the ball to KG every time down the floor. He had only 5 touches in the last 9+ minutes of the game. Especially with KG posted up on Gooden, he should have been getting the ball inside a lot more.
One of the keys to the game was to stop LeBron James, or at least contain him. He finished with 38 points, 4 rebounds, and 13 assists. Our defense just wasn't there tonight. The Cavs got way too many open looks and too many easy baskets. It was obvious that the Cavs were out to send a message right from the beginning. The Celtics seemed to turn their effort on and off. They can get away with that against lesser teams, but not the teams in the upper echelon of the league.
Rondo's shots weren't falling tonight and he finished with 3 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal in 43 minutes. Eddie House once again showed that his offense is very streaky, finishing with 3 points and 4 assists. Ray Allen finished with 29 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in 49 minutes. He seemed to be moving well on the court and he was shooting well, but when he went to the bench for his short rest, the trainer was working on his ankle. He missed 2 crucial free throws that would have put the Celtics up 2 and probably would have won the game in regulation.
KG finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks. But, as I mentioned, he only took a combined 4 shots in the last 9 minutes of regulation and OT combined. Pierce finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal. He still has the irritating habit of driving into a crowd and losing the ball. Sometimes he gets bailed out with a foul, but many times he does not and we turn the ball over.
Perk played very well on the defensive end and got some easy shots inside when they doubled off him. He finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. Pollard played 5 minutes and finished with 2 points and 1 rebound. Big Baby did some nice things in 6 minutes and Scal had 2 points, 1 rebound and 1 block in 5 minutes. Posey finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal and drew several comments on the Cavs message boards about dirty play.
The Celtics didn't play well tonight. They didn't work favorable matchups to get the ball in to KG. They didn't rebound well. They didn't hit their free throws. They didn't defend. They are indeed mortal. But the loss doesn't bother me near as much as the minutes KG, RA and PP are playing early on. The Celtics face this Cavs team again on Sunday and the Celtics will be looking for some payback on their home turf.