“But all of it is secondary to the bigger issue the Cavs have created for themselves with an up-and-down four-game set thus far. It is still unclear whether the Cavs have within them the desire to win 10 more games. Sometimes it looks like a “yes” but quite often it looks like a “no.”” [Brian Windhorst’s Beat Blog]
“More telling in the bigger picture was the Cavs’ alarming lack of aggression and hustle in a game that obviously meant so much. Especially coming less than 48 hours after their aggression and hustle got them control the series. Most especially after an absence of both cost them their first loss in the series in last week’s Game 2.” [Brian Windhorst’s Game Recap]
Through three quarters, Boston had outrebounded the Cavs, 31-27, outscored them in the paint, 34-30, and in second-chance points, 7-0. But with no O’Neal in the fourth quarter, the Celtics outrebounded the Cavs, 16-6, had a 16-10 edge in the paint and 6-0 on second chances. [Mary Schmitt Boyer on The Big 4th Quarter Bench Warmer]
“Seven of Rondo’s rebounds came in the fourth quarter (the Cavaliers had six in the fourth), and none was bigger than the one he seized with 1:34 to play and the Celtics clinging to a five-point lead. Grabbing a Kevin Garnett miss while surrounded by Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker, Rondo tossed in a put-back layup that sealed the game.” [Chris Broussard – ESPN]
“The problem the Cavs would face with such a switch is the possible awakening of Paul Pierce, who had his fourth straight subpar game. James usually guards him. A switch would likely mean Parker would have to guard Pierce, something that might serve to resuscitate Pierce, who is averaging 11.8 points on 32 percent shooting. Just not having to peer into James’ grill all night might seem like an utter emancipation for the beleaguered Celtics captain, who has almost as many fouls (13) as baskets (16) in the four games.” [Peter May – ESPNBoston]
“Consider that for a moment. As Boston’s captain struggles at both ends of the court, it’s Allen — a tantalizing enigma during his six seasons in Boston — who finally seems to have put it together. He expends full effort on defense now, yet still finds a way to get involved on offense, often racing to the basket on breaks and being rewarded with layups.” [Chris Forsberg – ESPNBoston]
Before Yesterday’s Game, the Cavs two best players by +/- against the Celtics were Delonte West and Anderson Varejao. The Cavs had been outscoring the Celtics in the fourth quarter by an average of 9 points. Delonte posted a -18 yesterday in 20 minutes, Varejao posted a -9 in 25 minutes, and the Cavs were outscored by 8 points in the fourth quarter.
“I get it. It’s the NCAA mindset, the triumph of the underdog, the cute scruffy guy living the dream. You can’t help but love it. And LeBron James in such peak form it should bring a basketball fan to tears — that’s just what we’ve come to expect of the King. When he surpasses his own ridiculously high standard, that too comes as no surprise.” [Bethlehem Shoals on LeBron’s Game 3 Performance]
“There seems to be a mild disagreement among the Cleveland Cavaliers. It doesn’t seem divisive, just an honest difference of opinion over their Game 4 loss to the Celtics that leaves the series tied at two games apiece. LeBron James said the Cavs played “well.” Mo Williams agreed. He even said it: “I think it was a well-played game.” But the Cavs’ coach was not as complimentary. Mike Brown pointed out two statistics that drew his ire, statistics that showed the Cavs were outhustled by the Celtics in Game 4: Boston had 23 fastbreak points to Cleveland’s seven, and Boston had 13 second-chance points to none for Cleveland. He might have also pointed out that Boston point guard Rajon Rondo had more offensive rebounds (four) than the entire Cavs team (three).” [Pat McManamon – Fanhouse]
Anderson Varejao logged 13 offensive rebounds in 3 games against the Celtics in the regular season. In the last 3 playoff games, he has 3 (total) offensive rebounds.
Seven point guards have a playoff PER above 19. Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Jameer Nelson are all on the list.