Cleveland’s Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in Boston, Sunday afternoon, and eliminated them from the playoffs, and I was never so angry after a Cavs win. Sadly, the most memorable stories from this game had very little to do with basketball. Kevin Love is in a sling, Jae Crowder allegedly went to the hospital, Kendrick Perkins and J.R. Smith are probably facing suspensions, Isaiah Thomas made a mockery of professional basketball, and Tony Brothers and his incompetent officiating crew let it all happen. Celtics players, Cavs players, both coaching staffs, Tony Brothers and Co., the NBA, and even the announcers let this game and this series devolve into some of the dirtiest and least professional basketball since the “the Malice at the Palace.”
Archive for the ‘Recaps’ Category
The Cavs earned a tough win. Each quarter had a completely different feeling to it, which had to have been mentally grueling for the Good Guys. The first twelve minutes were all about post touches, while the second quarter was about lots of physical fouls. The third quarter was the 3 and “D” period, and the fourth quarter was all about the King. The Cavs held Boston to 44% shooting from the field and 26% from deep for the night. Kevin Love and LeBron James combined for 54 points and made 7-15 shots from the 3-point land to lead the Cavs. James also had four steals and two blocks. Let’s get to the action. (more…)
Well, Game 2 turned out to be a significantly closer dogfight than many thought it would be (okay maybe I’m just over-reacting to my wildly optimistic prediction of a runaway 20 point win). It’s easy to forget that this Cavs team is still filled with (and coached by) relative playoff rookies, and is defining itself with each passing postseason game. Many of them (sans LeBron and the bench vets) are still learning to walk in the playoffs before they can run. They’re also still learning how to make the jump to hyperspace after a momentum changing run and how to shoot down the last remaining hopes of an inferior opponent instead of letting them hang around and blast away.
After a back and forth battle of skill versus will and muscle versus hustle for most of this game, the Cavs emerged victorious due in large part to the overwhelming firepower and greatness of their two fourth quarter heroes. That’s not to say they didn’t have plenty of help along the way from some key contributors (even the Falcon would have had a real quick trip if old Ben hadn’t knocked out that tractor beam before he
fouled out got cut down). However, the wily gunslinger and the kid who is strong in the force did what was necessary to get the job done in crunch time and maintain home court advantage.
But with the next real test coming in fast with a pivotal Game 3 on the road in the hostile environs of the TD Garden, now is no time to get cocky…
Whew. We got that out of the way. Tom Pestak and I tag teamed the recap on this lovely basketballiday. Bill Simmons’ 2016 presidential candidate, Brad Stevens (yes he’s over 35) had his scrappy Celtics squad as prepared to face Goliath as they could be, and the Cavs still covered the -12 point spread with a B- game. Once the emotions and nerves of the significance of the game settled in the second quarter the Cavs went on to out-score Boston 86 to 69 the rest of the way.
[First, before you dive headlong into this recap, do yourself a favor and listen to the epic, highly entertaining and informative Cavs: The Podcast Episode 64: 2014-2015, Season of Wow.]
Congratulations to the Central Division Champion, 2014-15 edition of the Cleveland Cavaliers!
A regular season campaign that started five months, two weeks and two days ago with one of the biggest celebrations the City of Cleveland has ever witnessed, has finally concluded with the Cavs winning 53 games versus 29 losses (a win total that once seemed nearly unattainable after a 19-20 start to the year).
Through early downs and recent ups, through devastating injuries and monumental trades, through media scrutiny and bowling trips, through fitting in and fitting out, the one thing that resonated clearly by the end of this regular season is that this team has quite successfully fit together. And speaking of “fitting,” what a fitting ending game number 82 was in honor of Fan Appreciation Night at the Q.
[*Alternate title courtesy of C:tB commenter Joey B]
The Cavs got one step closer to the second season with a win in game number 81 over the lottery-bound Pistons. This contest was like a welcome breath of fresh air after the pungent stink of the Boston sandwich from this past weekend. All five starters began the game on the floor, and played like the well-oiled machine that shredded the league for the last three months. The only real negative takeaway from this one was the tightening up of Kyrie’s hip, which caused him to leave the game at halftime (he would not return due to precautionary measures), and was a bucket of cold water on an otherwise positive night at the Q.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, sans Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and LeBron James hung with the playoff hungry Boston Celtics for all of one quarter before the effects of missing four starters were too much to overcome. The Cavs imploded in the second period, when they turned the ball over eight times, and the Celtics ran rampant for 34-9 rout in 12 minutes.
Not surprisingly, the Cavs were unable to make up the 76.5 points per game that their four missing starters provide, and were outscored 62-47 in second half as well. Of course, the Cavs had little to play for with the second seed in the East sewn up, and the chance to rest their starters couldn’t be passed up. In a game like this, one must ignore the score and look for the silver linings in the clouds.
Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert sat this one out. The Cavs came out lifeless on offense and allowed the Celtics to break loose a bit at the end of the half. They put together one excellent quarter, the 3rd, as LeBron pushed the tempo and
Lazarus Mike Milller canned three 3s, bringing the Cavs all the way back to momentarily take the lead. Blatt preferred Kevin Love and LeBron James call it a day after 3, and the Cavs 8 through 12 guys faltered down the stretch, ending an impressive home win streak and increasing the probability that the Celtics earn some playoff experience this season.
The Cavs came away with the victory last night, and it was sloppy. They are now the Central Division Champions. I’m going to say it’s because they pulled off this gritty win, but even if they’d lost, they still would’ve had the division title won thanks to the Bulls falling to the Magic.
The Wine & Gold started the game getting the ball into the post, and then used that action to hoist open three-pointers. They followed that plan for much of the night, but they racked up an astonishing 18 turnovers trying new stuff. Whenever they moved away from this game plan, they had some trouble scoring. However, in an ironic twist, it was the ISO-play down the stretch that won the game for them. LeBron James hit a three-ball off the dribble to put the Cavs up five with 14 seconds left in the game. The Cavs needed that shot, since somehow they managed to squander a 15 point lead in the third quarter and entered the fourth up by just two points. Kyrie led the team with a 17 point second quarter. He ended the game with 27 points, nine assists and four rebounds.
In a game that saw Cleveland go 16-37 from three, the Cavs showed no remorse gunning triples. Those 16 makes? They included three buzzer beaters from 23, 41, and 52 feet. Cleveland gave their playoff rotation a dress rehearsal and only played eight players: the starters plus Tristan, Shump, and Delly. The top eight played well, tripling out to a 54-45 halftime lead, a 15 point lead in the third, and a 12 point lead with seven minutes left, but the Bulls made a charge in the late fourth to cut Cleveland’s crunch time lead to just five. Some undisciplined offense helped Chicago’s cause, but their lack of a go-to scorer hurt it. And as the Cavs scored a few clutch buckets, Chicago could never get closer than a two possession deficit as time ran out.