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In an ugly game from beginning to end, the Cavaliers were physically overpowered on both sides of the floor as the Celtics rolled over them with relative ease, taking the game by 11 points and increasing the number of Cavs-Celtics games won by the home team to 15 in a row.
This was not pretty. The Cavs never got into any sort of balance offensively and were absolutely failing at getting side-to-side movement, with every pass coming under duress and every foray to the basket encountering a Celtic defender.
LeBron could be a target of controversy, and quite frankly with Garnett out of the game I don’t know how they could have bottled him up that well. They had three bodies around him every time he went to the basket, controlled all of his catches and made him get the ball at the perimeter, and LeBron did little to get himself easier shots, showing nothing resembling a post-up or pull-up game to get easy looks while negating the double-team pressure. For as well as LeBron’s been shooting recently, especially from deep, and showing much greater form and discipline on his three-pointers, a perimeter game is ultimately not about how well you hit deep shots but how well you can get easy ones. With no shots in between 2 and 21 feet tonight, LeBron’s lack of that perimeter game was exposed. Although he was able to force the issue and get to the line to keep him at a decent 21 points on 21 attempts, Thibodeau’s rotational brilliance was able to keep James from being a dominant force.
As is often the case when the offense goes stagnant, Mo Williams was our best offensive player, using his greatest strength, his ability to hit long jumpers off the dribble, to full effect and dropping 26 points on 15 shots.
The defense was even worse. Paul Pierce, who the Cavs have generally been able to bottle up in the past, was in full effect, plodding through the paint and getting to his spots and passing intelligently out of traps.
The big news was the Celtics’ bigs absolutely camping out and controlling the paint. This is where we miss Ben Wallace’s defense, because they were just getting layup after layup after layup. This was the ugliest kind of loss. And it’s Friday night, so I’m going to try and spend as little time as I can dwelling on it. Heat tomorrow, on our floor, with Dwyane Wade having no intentions of stopping his tear.