Only 4 times in franchise history has a Celtics team faced 2 game 7's in the same postseason. But yet, here we are in the just the second round already facing the second game 7 of the postseason. The Celtics were favorite to sweep the Hawks and yet that series inexplicably went to 7 games as the Celtics closed out the series with a 34 point rout.
Now, the Celtics are facing possible elimination again as they face the Cleveland Cavaliers in yet another game 7 at home. The Cavs are the reigning Eastern Conference champions and so the Celtics weren't expected to sweep them but they were expected to beat them. The Cavs aren't the same team that beat the Pistons last season. 3/5 of their starting lineup was acquired at the trade deadline so the Celtics have actually been together longer than they have.
The Celtics have never lost a series after being up 3-2. Hopefully that trend will hold true in this series as well. The odds seem to be in the Celtics favor. The home teams have been dominant in this round of the playoffs with only the Lakers and Pistons winning on the road. One explanation for this is that the officiating has been very favorable to the home in just about every series. The Celtics might not know what to do if they drive to the hoop and actually get a call. Hopefully the officiating will at least be fair.
Doc finally realized that the Sam Cassell experiment was failing miserably and played Eddie House in game 6. This was a good move as Eddie played well and hopefully Doc will stick with Eddie in game 7. One puzzling move is that Doc has benched Leon Powe who has played very well in the playoffs to this point. I don't know why Doc is playing Big Baby over Leon, but hopefully it will go the way of the Sam Cassell experiment and we will see Leon getting his regular minutes in game 7.
This game will not be easy and the Celtics need to be ready for a battle from the Cavaliers. They can't afford to come out sluggish and then play catchup the rest of the game. They need to jump out to a quick start and play hard throughout the game. They need focus, intensity and effort. I don't know about you, but I am not ready for this run to end so hopefully the Celtics will come out and take care of business at home so they can move on to the finals. Probable Starting Matchups PG Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West SG Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak SF Paul Pierce vs LeBron James PF Kevin Garnett vs Ben Wallace C Kendick Perkins vs Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Injuries: Scott Pollard, Ankle, out
Eric Snow, ankle, out Daniel Gibson, shoulder, out
Key Matchups Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West Rondo was the star of game 5 but virtually disappeared in game 6. The Celtics will need Rondo to be aggressive on both ends of the court. His defense on Delonte was one of the reasons the Cavs struggled in game 5 and they will need that from him again in this game. He also has to be aggressive on the offensive end to keep the defenses from slacking off him to double on others.
Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak The Celtics need Ray Allen to find his shot. They need him to get going to jump start their faltering offense. Ray also has to stay at home on Wally on defense to prevent him from hitting the big 3's capable of changing the momentum in the game.
Honorable Mention Paul Pierce vs LeBron James Pierce will need to continue to play tough one on one defense on LeBron but he also has to be more aggressive on the offensive end in taking the ball to the basket and make LeBron work more on defense as well.
Keys to the Game Rebound This is a big key as when the Celtics get more rebounds they win and when they don't, they lose. The Celtics must do a better job to keep the Cavs off the offensive boards as second chance points were killing the Celtics in game 5. Rebounding is effort and desire and the Celtics will need both if they want to win this game and advance.
Ball Movement The Celtics must move the ball and find the open man to get open shots. But then , they must make those shots. The Celtics haven't been able to score and this could be a result of being tired and not having the legs under them for jumpers. They have to be more aggressive in going to the hoop and trying to get the ball inside.
Defense They couldn't ask for better defense than to hold the Cavs to 33% as they did in game 5 and they will need to continue to play tough team defense to keep the rest of the team from beating them even if LeBron is playing well. Hopefully a good defense will key a better offense.
Play 48 Minutes The Celtics have played well in spurts in some games but to win this game, they must play well for all 48 minutes. They have to come out aggressive from the start and not let up. The bench needs to play well to give the starters some rest and the starters can't let up when they get a lead. The Cavs are too dangerous to spot a lead or to allow them to come back when they are down.
Coaching Doc needs to make adjustments to overcome the problems scoring that the Celtics have had in this series. He made a good decision to play Eddie House instead of Sam in game 6 and needs to play House again in this game. The ball movement stops when Sam is running the point and the offense keeps moving when Eddie is in. It is very puzzling that Doc hasn't played Leon in the past 2 games. He has played very well in the playoffs and has earned the minutes. Doc's decision to play Big Baby down the stretch in game 6 is questionable at best.
Here are comments found around the Cavs boards during their game with the Celtics. Even most of the Cavs fans realized they had a lot of help from the refs. If I was Danny I would submit a tape of that game with all the ticky tack calls on the Celtics and the non calls on the Cavs and demand something be done. It was one of the worst officiated games I have ever watched. It is a shame that the officials are being allowed to influence the outcome of games. After the scandal this summer I was hoping for some good officiating this season but we have had anything but.
I'm looking for Delonte West to have a major coming out party tonight. He was a killer in the fourth quarter of Game 5. We need him to continue that energy, that tenacity, and that confidence. As for tonight's game, I'm predicting that the Cavs pull away in the fourth. The key, as always, will be coming out hard in the 3rd quarter.
Never forget .. Were the EC Champs!.. That ain't ending tonight!!
Did I really just see LBJ put up an airball?
Believe people, this is ours for the taking.
I'm as confident as I've ever been that we WILL win tonight. Boston are a poor team on the road, and there's no way we'll let them win this. If we win this game, we have a legit chance at still winning this series.
Really want the cavs to win tonights game as well as Sundays game, but I have a bad feeling about something. I don't think that Boston is going to lose on the road again, they have to prove people that they CAN win on the road as well, but that is just a feeling not a reality.
I like having Bavetta doing the game. He's a big home team ref, and he's the kind of guy that overdoes things to get the crowd into it. David Stern will probably put Joey Crawford into game seven.
I know we could be killin these clowns, if Lebron was not trying to become the youngest player to have 10 turnovers in 1 quarter in the playoffs!
This game is reminding me of game 1. Ugh...
The Celtics have a great inside game with Kevin Garnett who they can depend on every trip up and down the court.
The refs are really letting the guys play tonight, ****. Seems like half of the offensive rebounds that the Celtics have gotten have been on blatant over-the-back fouls, for starters.
Jeez, their ball movement has been killing us this series.
Damon Jones on Eddie House- great matchup. Two point guards who can't pass, dribble, or play defense, but can sure shoot the **** out of the ball. Neither of them can exploit the other's major, crucial weaknessees; they were made to play each other.
If Eddy House is hitting shots this could be a long night for us...
Eddie House is going to kill us, I love their ball movement.
Does KG EVER MISS A JUMPSHOT? Seriously?
Glen Davis just might be the slowest player in the league (does Traylor still play?) Even slower than Perkins, believe it or not. I've always wondered how many suicides Rondo could run before they completed their first. Two and a half? Three?
I think we need to get Robert Horry to take out garnett for us. The dude is hitting from everywhere.
We need to foul Garnett hard, he's too weak minded. It'll get too him.
I will say this Doc Rivers knows when to call a time out.MB will learn hes still young but that was a veteran player now coach timeout.
Boston isn't that good.
WEST!!!!!!!! We are winning this series. Even with Mike Brown as our coach.
When Glen Davis plays, the other team gets offensive rebounds. The guy just sucks.
Yeah big baby is pretty bad, maybe he should been a lineman or a fullback.
Big Baby looked like Kevin McHale against us regular season I think. Now he plays like big fat guy.
Big Baby looks like a UPS truck...
Amazing how bad Rondo is from game 5 to tonight
Does Garnett ever commit a foul?
I ****in hate KG..Unreal
KG can get away with killing somebody.
The refs are tilting towards Boston.
Blatant hold by Garnett on Wallace preventing Wallace from getting another offensive board, followed by an obvious offensive foul by Garnett, followed by a ticky tack foul called on Z showing on the screen. Wow refs.
This offense will not win in Boston. I really thought we would come out firing on all cylinders!!
Perkins look like he's either going to cry or kill somebody.
Or eat somebody.
Garnett is going to cold, there is no doubt about it. We gotta foul out Perkins ASAP.
And then they will put in big fat guy who will also foul out.
I THINK ANDY SCRATCHED GARNETT'S EYEBALL. OOPS
All right, please for the love of Shawn Kemp and his 50 children, close the 4th quarter and lets go to game 7
KG is the best midrange shooter of all time...
Hmmm..Ray Allen IS alive
I hate Eddie House....
Refs helping the cavs out.
Wow! Another call that went in our favor
It was a blocking foul for sure on LeBron.
Wow no one can complain about the calls we are getting tonight.
I think we will win this series. But our offense has to be better in game 7.
The most amazing thing was, from pretty much the start of the fourth quarter, the calm, collected confidence of the cavs vs the frustrated, uncertain unhappiness of the Celts.
KG is getting antsy. He is normally on vacation right now, let's send him packing.
Ha, with a chance to cut the lead to 5, KG traveled, then missed a bunny Good times
Wow. Rivers at the podium 10 minutes after the final horn. He looks defeated already.
Rivers was defeated the second he stepped up to the sideline. The Celts win in spite of him, not because of him.
I'm so glad that the officials gave us great calls down the stretch. Doc Rivers was crying like his team didn't get the calls every other game he needs to man up.
We were allowed to play physical. Also that they had just as many hard drives as we did and shot half the FT's.
For the teams that we've played throughout the years --Between Detroit of 06, 07 and San Antonio of 07, these Celtics are without a doubt the worst of the bunch... I have zero idea how that team won 66 games to be honest..
Every time Big Baby Davis gets on the floor I get so excited. That guy has been so valuable to our defense.
The refs tried, they really did. But I can see where the Celtic players would complain. The refs were supposed to give the game to Boston, but for some reason the Cavs still won. It must be frustrating to know that they were supposed to win with help from the refs, and even after the refs game them the benefit of the doubt every time, constantly bailed them out or just made bad calls against the cavs, Boston still lost. It also has to be frustrating for them to get away with fouling all game, and then they get called a couple times for it. Honestly though, what case do they have to complain about the refs?
This was an ugly game from the start as even the jump ball was no good and had to be thrown up a second time. It was a defensive struggle right from the beginning with neither team shooting the ball well. Paul Pierce missed his first five shots before hitting a jumper with 1:10 left in the first quarter. He finished the quarter with 4 points on 2-7 shooting. Doc finally gave Eddie House a chance and he immediately made a difference, hitting a jumper soon after entering the game to tie the game at 18 to end the first quarter.
Doc started the second quarter with PJ Brown, Ray Allen, Big Baby Davis, James, Posey and Eddie House on the court and this lineup went on a 7-1 run including a 3 by Eddie House and a nice feed inside to Big Baby for a dunk. The Celtics took their biggest lead at 31-25 with 6:12 left in the half. But, the Cavs came back and from that point, the Cavs went on a 17-2 run to end the half including a steal and last second 3 by Delonte West at the buzzer to end the half with the Cavs up 42-33.
In the third quarter, the Cavs picked up where they left off with 6 quick points by LeBron James to push the lead to 48-33. The Celtics had missed 15 shots in a row before Ray Allen finally scored on a put back of his own miss. It was a game of runs as the Celtics then went on a 13-0 run to cut the lead to 3 points with 2:20 left in the period. But the Cavs pushed the lead back up to 59-50 going into the final period.
The Celtics continued to play hard and pulled to within 5 at 72-67 with 1:17 left in the game. It was at this point that the officiating took over and the Celtics didn't have a chance. On the next play, Ilgauskas missed a jumper and Pierce rebounded and was driving to the basket when LeBron stepped in front of him. Ignoring the fact that LeBron was still moving and was going for a steal, the refs called a charge on Pierce. As Tommy said after the game, the ref should be prosecuted for making such a bad call. On the next possession, Pierce got a rebound and passed it ahead to Ray who went in for a layup which was clearly goal tended but the refs didn't call it. They did call a foul and Ray hit the free throws to cut the lead to 72-69. Joe Smith caught the ball on the inbounds pass and landed with both feet, he then immediately pivoted his right foot and shifted his left foot forward, finally dribbling after planting his left foot, which was 3 or 4 steps and clearly a travel, but they instead called a foul and he hit both free throws for the final score of 74-69.
The Cavs shot 25 free throws to just 13 for the Celtics. In many of the games, the Celtics weren't aggressively taking the ball to the basket and so didn't get the calls but in this game, the Celtics were getting inside and were getting fouled, but just weren't getting the calls. Usually the officiating won't make a difference, but in this game it absolutely did. Even the ESPN announcers were commenting on those three bad calls in the last minute.
The Celtics shot 40% for the game while holding the Cavs to 33% but the difference in the game, besides the officiating, was on the boards. The Cavs had 45 rebounds to 37 for the Celtics and they out rebounded the Celtics by 9 on the offensive end.
Kevin Garnett had a good game as he scored 25 points on 11-21 shooting to go with 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, but the rest of the Celtics didn't come through. Paul Pierce shot just 5-15 for 16 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 turnovers. After Rondo's huge game 5, he struggled in this one. He scored just 2 points but did pull down 5 rebounds and dish out 5 assists. Filling in at the point behind Rondo, Eddie House did a good job with 8 points on 3-5 shooting along with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 18 minutes. Ray Allen once again struggled with his shot going 3-8 from the field and finishing with 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
Perk spent much of the game in foul trouble and finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 26 minutes. Doc once again used Big Baby as back up behind Perk and that is very puzzling since Leon Powe was playing so well earlier in the series. This may be one of Doc's more baffling moves. Big Baby was just 2-8 with most of those misses being layups. In fairness to him, though, he was mugged on most of those layups with no calls from the refs. PJ Brown played 8 minutes and finished with just 1 rebound on this stat sheet. James Posey didn't score but played his usual steady game on defense and finished with 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal.
The series now shifts back to Boston for the Celtics second game 7 in as many series. The game will be at 3:30 on Sunday. The Celtics have never lost a series when being up 3-2 and we can only hope that streak doesn't end now. Hopefully the Celtics will get some of the calls they didn't get tonight or it is going to be very tough for them to win, even at home.
The Celtics are once again up 3-2 in a playoff series. In the first series, the Celtics were expected to sweep the lowly Hawks and they appeared to be doing just that as they won the first two games at home by an average of 21 points. Then, they went on the road and inexplicably the Celtics went flat, allowing the Hawks to gain confidence and tie the game at 2 apiece. In Game 5, the Celtics once again were dominant and we all thought they had turned the corner and would go back to Atlanta and close out the series but again, the Celtics couldn't win on the road. It took a 7th game at home where they blew out the Hawks by over 30 points to get tot he second round.
Bring on the Cavs. Once again in the second round, the Celtics won the first two games at home. The first game was way too close for Celtics' fans liking, but the second game they went back to being dominant. Then came the road and again, in game 3, the Celtics were blown out. In game 4, the Celtics had a chance to win, but seemed to stop playing in the 4th quarter, allowing the Cavs to bring the series back to Boston tied 2-2. Once again, the home court allowed the Celtics to win big in game 5 with impressive defense.
We have been here before. We are going into game 6 with the Celtics up 3-2 and a chance to close out the series. We all expected them to break out of their road slump in their game 6 against the Hawks but it didn't happen. There are a lot of people now doubting this team. Great teams win on the road. The Pistons did it in this round and are just sitting around and getting rested before the start of the EC finals. Can the Celtics break out and finally win on the road and close this series out now? I think they can and will.
The Celtics certainly know how to win on the road. They won big playoff like games on the road in the regular season. They won a big game in Detroit giving them the season series against the Pistons. They won the 3 big games on the road in Texas. The Rockets game was especially a tough one to win and the home team was on a 22 game win streak and the Celtics were playing the 4th game of a 5 game road trip. The were one of only 4 teams to beat the Jazz on their home court all season. They won on the Lakers' home court. And they won all those games with their stifling defense and effective ball movement, the same defense and ball movement we have seen them play at home in the playoffs. Yet, so far in the playoffs, that defense and ball movement has not been seen on the road.
The bottom line is that it comes down to focus and mental toughness. They know what to do and are fully capable of doing it. They have been questioned as a team and although the 4 teams in the second round are a combined 20-1 on the road, it is the Celtics that have faced the most criticism because they are the only team that failed to win on the road in the first round. The fact is that the Celtics don't have to win on the road. They can win a championship without ever winning a road game, thanks to the fact that they played every game in the regular season like it was the playoffs.
Even though they could win the championship without a road win, they need to win one on the road simply to put the questions about their heart and toughness to rest. If they don't win a road game, there will always be an asterisk on this team because of it. Hopefully, the Celtics will forget that they don't need to win on the road and come out and play tonight like it is game 7 and finally put to rest all the questions. I do know one thing, if the Celtics play their game with the tough defense they have played all season and the ball movement that makes them so hard to defend against, they will get a win tonight. The ball is in their court, so to speak.
Once again for the second series in a row, the Celtics will try to close out an opponent in a game 6 on the road. The Celtics have yet to win on the road in 5 tries and hopefully the 6th time is a charm. The momentum is in the Celtics favor as they are coming off of one of their best efforts in the playoff in game 5.
The Celtics can win on the road. They were the best road team in the regular season. They won big pressure games in Detroit, LA, and the Texas Triangle and so we know they are capable of winning under pressure on the road. Why they haven't been able to get it done in the playoffs is anyone's guess. Hopefully they will build on the rebounding and defensive effort from game 5 to get a win in this game as well.
Rondo's play was key to game 5 and will once again be needed if the Celtics want to win this game on the road. Unfortunately, in past games on the road, Rondo has struggled. Hopefully he has turned the corner and will come out with a strong game in this one as well. Hopefully, Doc will either play Eddie House or play Sam Cassell sparingly when Rondo is resting as Sam has struggled in this series.
The Celtics need to close this series out tonight as the Pistons are just sitting at home and resting and getting healthy as they wait for the winner of this series. The Pistons are the only team in the second round to win on the road and although the Celtics could win the championship without winning on the road, the great teams do win on the road and the Celtics need to prove that they are one of the great teams with a win here.
Probable Starting Matchups PG: Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West SG: Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak SF: Paul Pierce vs LeBron James PF: Kevin Garnett vs Ben Wallace C: Kendrick Perkins vs Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Sixth Man: James Posey vs Anderson Varejao
Injuries: Scott Pollard, Ankle, out
Eric Snow, ankle, out Daniel Gibson, shoulder, out
Key Matchups Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West In game 5, Rondo played circles around Delonte and was a big reason for the Celtics win. They will need him to come out just as aggressively in this game and Doc should stick with Rondo for most of the game.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James LeBron broke out in the first half in game 5 for 23 but scored just 12 in the second half. The Celtics did a good job of defending him while still not ignoring his teammates. The Celtics will need to try to keep LeBron from taking over the game but also they will need to pay attention to his teammates who have proven that they also can beat them. Expect to see Pierce on LeBron with single coverage at times and at other times, they may double him, depending who is hot. Honorable Mention Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak Ray still hasn't broken out of his shooting slump but has done other things to help the team such as that rebound late in game 5 to preserve the win. He also did a better job of defending Wally and keeping him from getting his shot off. It would be nice to see Ray go off offensively to make Wally have to expend some energy on defense. We will need points from Ray to pull this one out on the road. Keys to the Game Play 48 minutes The Celtics have stumbled out of the gate in the last couple of games. At home they were able to get back into it and pull away, but on the road, they haven't been able to overcome the pit that they found themselves in. Also, the Celtics have stumbled in the 4th quarter, allowing the Cavs to get back in games. They need to come out strong and play aggressively for 48 minutes if they want to win this. Rebound When the Celtics out rebound the Cavs, they win. It is as simple as that. Because rebounding is an indication of effort, When the Celtics are putting out the effort they need to win, they will also be going after the rebounds. They can not allow the Cavs to get 2nd and 3rd chance baskets if they want to win this.
Ball Movement When the Celtics move the ball and find the open man, their offense is hard to stop. When they bog down with each player looking for his shot, then the offense literally stops and they can't score. The way to beat the Cavs defense is to move the ball as they did in the 3rd quarter of game 5. Rondo did an excellent job of keeping the ball moving and setting up the offense in game 5 and he needs to continue to play that way in this game. Be Aggressive The Celtics can't settle for quick jumpers. They have to be aggressive and take the ball to the hoop to either get a high percentage shot or to draw the foul. The Cavs have been shooting twice as many free throws as the Celtics and it is hard to win in that situation. The Celtics need to be more aggressive on offense and get the Cavs in foul trouble. They also have to be aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds. In games 3 and 4, it seemed as though the Celtics were sluggish and letting the Cavs beat them to loose balls and rebounds. They have to be more aggressive in this one if they want to win this.
Defense At home, the Celtics play a suffocating team defense but on the road, they have allowed the Cavs to shoot close to 50% and the defense hasn't been anywhere to be seen on the road. The Celtics have to focus and play the same kind of defense on the road as they do at home. X-Factor Focus and Intensity The Celtics need to maintain their focus on both ends of the court to close this series out here. They need to keep their defensive focus to get stops and they have to keep their offensive focus to move the ball and find the open man. They also have to come out with intensity and play with intensity throughout the game. If they lose focus, they will have to play a game 7 while the Pistons are resting up.
Here are comments found around the Cavs boards during their game 5 with the Celtics. It is pretty funny that the Cavs fans were talking about the refs being biased and the Celtics getting all the calls but yet the Cavs took 18 more free throws than the Celtics and it would have been even more if they weren't fouling on purpose to stop the clock down the stretch. Amazing.
They have to demoralize Celtics early..get them thinking..wondering..make them overreact to everything...
I predict that Ray Allen will CHOKE!
Celtics look nervous, jump on them early!
It seems like both teams, but especially Boston, look nervous
Why does it seem like their court always looks hazy. Is it because of all the bandwagoners
Man, Rajon Rondo sure takes a lot of shots for not being a very good player...
I hate Posey. Flop machine
LeBron is beating Boston by himself!
The refs are horrible tonight. That was a blatant foul on Z. He pushed Rondo to the floor. At least it's going both ways so far.
Boston looks like the same team that started this series. That is their problem. You can't win these series without making adjustments. Boston hasn't made any adjustments this whole series
Wally is an assassin.
Pretty sad when Wally makes Ray Allen look like the slow white guy.
Looks like the home refs aren't homering the Cavs...good sign.
The Cavaliers played rope-a-dope with the Celtics for the first two games and now are taking it to them. They took their best shot, now the Celts are in shock and a step slow.
Ray Allen is about 2 years away from a Dancing With The Stars Appearance. Washed up!
Garnett getting away with murder in the post defensively. They can't allow him to stiff arm our guys when they attack the rim. He did it on the Lebron dunk last game. No call. He just did it to Gibson. No call.
Now this is sad.. Rondo hitting WIDE OPEN threes. Our guys are just watching him. Must be fun for them.
James is getting to the lane... Im scared if im Boston
The refs are calling this one sided. I'm sick of Boston. They are getting Boston calls.
I disagree... I think that this has been called fairly even... At least compared to the first half of Monday's game
We need to keep an eye on Allen at all times. Can't be late closing on him or he will get hot and kill us.
The Celtics ball movement is amazing. When they are firing the ball around the court, they kill us with those open three's.
If it was Garnett or Pierce that was getting Boston back in the game, that would be one thing, but it is Rondo. He has hit two wide open 3's, one in transition.
Pierce shoots like a weakling
Can these rims be any friendlier for the Celtics? Even Pierce is making shots cmon now.
I'm wondering why PJ brown gets to just grab people by the neck and they are 'good fouls'
Leaving garnett wide open is not smart. Will we learn.
We are getting killed by a baby and a rondo.
I feel bad saying this but I have a feeling Boston will win game 6 as well
West on Garnett in crunch time. Now that is comical.
I won't be watching a Celtic piston match up. I will laugh when the winner gets crushed by the west.
West is getting used and abused by Rondo. Rondo finally has his confidence and isn't worried about 1 mistake and getting yanked for Cassell. Bummer. We need Cassell back in there slowing it down, taking bad shots, and turning it over right now.
We won't win a game 7 in Boston. No way, no how. Even if we play decent, the refs won't let us have it.
I don't understand why Boston is full of jerks.....big ol' Jerks!
If we lose this game, series is over. Hate to say it but this one was the game we needed to win. Boston won't lose a game 7. there's no way they gonna let that happen. Did you see what they did to the hawks? Not sayin' the cavs are like the hawks but they'll fight for their lives in a game 7 at home.
Wally with a major league choke job there. Wide open trey and he barely grazes rim.
I wanna slap garnett's face. Everytime they show him he is talking ****!!!!
Ok... Down by 4....what do you guys think weshould do?
Boston TRIED to give us the game and we cant do it. GAME OVER
All that trying and magical steals and it all comes down to a simple box out.
Disadvantage to Kevin Garnett being one of the mentally soft players in the league: When he takes a big shot he misses so badly that it makes it hard to get a rebound.
Delonte is the only Cav playing with heart. I've gained a lot of respect for him tonight.
The best team won tonight because they shot free throws better. When will these guys realize they are professional basketball players with a ball in their hand with no one guarding them. If they were paid like pro golfers, I'd bet they spend a little more time in the gym working on those three footers. Coddled, contract athletes.
I hope Paul pierce dies a very slow and painful death. I hated him at Kansas and I loath him now
Yeah, game ball has to go to Rondo. He completely took the rhythm out of our fragile offense with strong full court pressure on Delonte. That was the a major turning point in this game
I hate Boston so much. If they beat us, I'd rather see the pistons beat them then Celtics beating the pistons. I thought I'd never see the day
Stupid Boston, without homefield as their crutch they'd be toast....
Well, at least we showed the ability to play Boston well in their building. For a quarter or two.
Boston still almost choked the game way. They really are kind of a laughing stock though. This is the worse 60 win team I've ever seen. They went seven games with the Hawks. Everyone say that again, seven games with the pathetic Hawks.
Boston was just asking us to take the game away from them, and we said no thank you, we want you to keep it.
Can you say mike brown was ((( OUT COACHED ))). Lose by double digits lack of player defense. Lose in single digits just plane Coaches fault. The sad thing is he got out coached by a coach that only won 66 regular session games that has Kevin Garnett ,Paul Pierce & Ray Allen. You give Phil Jackson that team that team would win 80 games.
It was a good omen right from the start of this game as Perk won the tip although the first minute was sloppy on both sides with a 24 second violation on each team and a defensive 3 second violation on KG. The Cavs came out strong to begin the game rushing out to an 18-9 lead in the first 8 minutes. The Cavs held a 23-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. It seemed like more of the same from games 3 and 4 with the Celtics shooting 35% and the Cavs shooting 50%. The Cavs also beat the Celtics on the boards 10-7 in the first quarter.
The Cavs continued their run in the second quarter as they ran the lead up to 43-29 with 3:35 left in the half. Doc put Rondo back in for Sam and it paid dividends right away as Rondo hit 2 3 pointers in a row to cut the lead to 43-37 Cavs. That started a 14-3 run by the Celtics to cut the lead to 46-43 at the half. LeBron scored 23 points in the half but the Cavs role players didn't get the job done.
The Celtics came out ready to play in the 3rd quarter as Ray hit a jumper to cut the lead to 1. Rondo then got a steal and a layup to take the lead at 47-46. The lead then went back and forth until Boston took the lead for good at 58-55 with 5:15 left in the third. The play of the game came with 3:51 left in the 3rd quarter when Rondo skied for a block on a layup by Delonte West. The lead at the end of 3 was Celtics 72 and Cavaliers 63.
The Celtics got a little sloppy down the stretch as Delonte got a couple of steals and took them in for easy layups and the Cavs were able to cut the Celtics 12 point lead down to 4 points with just 12.2 seconds left in the game. Pierce scored the Celtics last 8 points from the free throw line to seal the 96-89 win.
Rondo was the player of the game as he took over the game on both ends of the floor and finished with 20 points, 2 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and just 1 turnover. Kevin Garnett was also huge in the game with 26 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Paul Pierce was much more aggressive in taking the ball to the hoop while still doing a good job of defending LeBron in the second half. After 23 first half points, James scored just 12 in the second half. Pierce finished with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Ray Allen still struggled with his shot, going only 4-11 from the field for 11 points, but he did a good job of fronting Wally and holding him to just 10 points on 3-8 shooting. Ray also made a big play with 15.6 seconds left and the Celtics leading 93-87. KG missed a jumper and Ray tipped the rebound out to Pierce who was fouled and he hit both free throws to give the Celtics some breathing room. Big Baby gave the Celtics a boost of energy off the bench as he scored 6 points in 11 minutes. At one point he landed full force on Wally which couldn't have been too pleasant for Wally. Sam Cassell once again struggled and went scoreless in 5 minutes of play.
All of the starters except Perk, who was in foul trouble much of the game, played over 40 minutes. It was nice to have Rondo on the floor to start the 4th quarter so that we had momentum right from the beginning. The Celtics ended the game shooting 48% and they held the Cavs to 45%. The Celtics also out rebounded the Cavs 38-30. The Celtics ball movement was excellent in this game as they had 25 assists on 37 field goals. The Cavs had only 11 assists. This game still had a huge disparity in free throws as the Celtics shot 17-23 and the Cavs shot 23-41 from the line. This may have had a different result if the Cavs hit their free throws.
The series shifts back to Cleveland for game 6. Can the Celtics finally get a win on the road? I certainly hope so. The Celtics seem to have found their defensive intensity once again and their ball movement was back. Hopefully they can carry those things over to game 6 and finally pull out a win on the road.
NBA.com is reporting the Danny Ainge has been named Executive of the Year. He earned this award by masterminding the biggest single season turnaround in NBA history. When Danny took over, he made several bold moves including trading Antoine Walker away. He stockpiled young talent in spite of drafting in the middle of the first round. This season he was able to use that young talent to bring in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to return Celtics Pride to Boston.
They will present the award prior to tonight's game 5 in TD Banknorth Garden. Let's hope seeing their GM honored will light a fire under the team.
Well, the Pistons have finished off the Magic in 5 games. They won on the road and they did it without Chauncey Billups. That should concern the Celtics in that they haven't been able to get it done on the road in 5 tries at full strength. Another thing that is concerning is that the Pistons are now sitting back and resting while the Celtics are going to have to go at least 6 games and possibly 7 if the Celtics can find some heart somewhere. This is assuming that the Celtics can come back and win 2 more games. I used to think that the Celtics were a lock for the Eastern Conference finals but the way they have been playing I don't know any more.
My thoughts on what went wrong in game 4. First, the players deserve blame because they didn't play defense. They weren't aggressive. They forgot all about the defensive rotations that made them so effective all season. Second, the players forgot about playing the team offense. Every one was trying to do it all by themselves. Pierce pulling up for quick 3's killed the offensive momentum. They completely forgot how to move the ball against an aggressive defense to find the open man and they have completely abandoned the idea of taking the ball to the basket. You go to the basket and you either get a high percentage shot or get fouled but yet, the Celtics have not been doing that. They have been settling for outside shots.
Much of rebounding is effort and desire. Players have to be aggressive in going after rebounds. They can't just wait for rebounds to come to them. This is how Rajon Rondo or Leon Powe can out rebound the bigger players around them. They simply want them more. Rebounding is crucial to winning games. There is an old adage that "Offense sells tickets, Defense wins games, rebounding wins championships." The reason for this is that when a team wants it more and plays harder they will be getting the rebounds. It's all about effort. The Celtics have been out rebounded on the road almost every time. This speaks to their effort. It just hasn't been there. Second and third chance baskets will kill a team and the Celtics have been allowing it to happen.
And, aside from the players, Doc's substitutions and game management have been head scratching at best. Doc did a good job in the regular season, but in the playoffs when coaching now becomes so much more important and from game to game it becomes a chess match between coaches, Doc hasn't gotten it done. Starting Big Baby in the 4th when he hadn't played at all in the game and playing him for over 5 minutes when he clearly struggled from the first minute was puzzling. Why did Leon play only 6 minutes when he has given the team a lift and has played well throughout the playoffs so far? Why is Sam getting so many ineffective minutes? Rondo was playing great in game 4 and yet he sat way too long. Eddie House is clearly a better shooter than Cassell and he was the one who got us here and he did a very good job of running the team so why is he not getting any minutes? When Sam is in, the ball movement stops and it becomes Sam's shooting gallery. Why had Doc gone so far away from the rotations that won this team 66 games and got them here? I say play Eddie House. I had a good laugh at this photo on Red's Army today and I had to share it here. Makes the point quite well.
Yesterday's Globe had a quote that caught my attention:
Coach Doc Rivers said his team needed to play better "under stress" during the final stretch of games. Pierce and Garnett begged to differ.
"I wouldn't say we're lacking poise," Garnett said. "In a situation like ours, we are trying to do everything that Doc wants us to do. He makes all the calls. He gives us direction. For the most part, we pretty much try to do what he wants."
Said Pierce, "I don't know what he means. I'm stressed every game. Stressed to get a win."
KG saying that the team is doing just what Doc wants is a pretty big indictment on Doc's coaching since they have been failing pretty miserably in the past two games. This looks like Doc putting the blame on the players and the players turning around and putting it right back on Doc. They don't need discord right now. They need Ubuntu. Let's hope they find it quickly. Tonight is a must win for them.
This team has been terrible in the 4th quarter of games. In the fourth quarter of their last 5 road games the Celtics have scored 19, 18, 17, 21, and 12 points respectively. 12 points in the fourth quarter of a game that is a 1 possession game going into the quarter? That is inexcusable. KG being 0-2 in that quarter? That is even worse. How could KG not get more than 2 shots? How can they not score more than 12 points? The Cavs have LeBron to take over in the 4th quarter. The '86 Celtics had Bird who would take over in crunch time. But, the Celtics don't seem to have anyone who is willing to step up in the 4th quarter and take over the game. KG becomes invisible. Pierce resorts to quick 3 point hero shots. Ray Allen has been invisible this whole series other than a spurt in the 3rd quarter of game 4. This team's mental toughness has been questioned. Now is the time for them to step up and close this series out in 6 games and show that they have mental toughness or every one will have a long summer to think about why they didn't.
To state the obvious: These Boston Celtics are not a championship team. It's a huge surprise after their dominance of the regular season, but under the defensive pressure of the playoffs their three stars have lost all feeling for how to play off one another. They are a numb offensive team that doesn't feed off strengths or mismatches, that doesn't develop a go-to scorer during the game and doesn't exhibit poise when mandatory. Over the closing minutes of tight games the Celtics look as if they have no idea where to go with the ball or which of them should take over. This is why no overhauled team has ever won a title in its first year together: It takes years for a championship team to learn to play together and barring some kind of heavenly revelation the No. 1 seed isn't going to achieve that unity this postseason.
I still think this is a championship caliber team. You don't win 66 games at home and then dominate teams on your home court the way the Celtics have without being a championship caliber team. Are they playing like one now? Absolutely not. But I think the problems are fixable with a bit more effort from each player to play the way they did to get them here and with a little better coaching from Doc.
All that being said, the Celtics aren't alone in their struggles on the road in this round. Only the Pistons have won a game on the road in this round. The Spurs, Hornets, Lakers and Jazz haven't been able to do it either. But, they all won a road game in the first round while the Celtics weren't able to get it done then either. I am just hoping they can get it together at home and that it was the road that threw them off. After watching their lack of heart and lack of effort in games 3 and 4, I just don't know any more. The Celtics almost lost game 1 and now the Cavs are coming in with confidence. They have been here before and won games 5 and 6 against the Pistons last season and with that behind them, they know they can do it again, especially the way the Celtics have been playing. I am plenty nervous going into this game.
I had to chuckle over LeBron's mom coming to his aide in game 4. I remember one time when my son was fouled hard in a game and I was down there ready to take the kid on and he was lucky cooler heads around me held me back. It is a mother's instinct to proctect your kids, plain and simple. There have been several times where I would give players an earful in a game. Thankfully, my son never told me to sit my a** down. I raised him better than that.
Tonight's game is huge. It is a must win because the way the Celtics have been playing on the road, they can't afford to give up home court advantage. I just hope the good Celtics show up tonight because if they don't, we will be left with a lot of questions about this team and a long time to wonder about them.