Overview: The Boston Celtics outscored the Cavaliers 70-44 in the second half of a 120-88 rout. The Celtics now lead the series 3-2. LeBron James had one of the worst games of his career, going 3-14 from the floor. Ray Allen led all scorers with 25 points. It was the worst home playoff loss in Cavalier history.
Everything started out nicely enough. The Cavs looked to go inside early, establishing Jamison and Shaq down low and using some outside jumpers to keep the floor spaced for them. With 9:52 to go, the Cavs took an eight-point lead and Doc Rivers called timeout. The Cavs were outscored by 40 points after that time-out. I don’t know what Doc said in that huddle, but it must’ve been good.
After the time-out, the Cavs did not score a point for the next six minutes of play. Shaq turned it over. Delonte turned it over. LeBron missed an open three. Meanwhile, Boston’s big three began to get into a groove on offense. By the time Cleveland finally scored a point thanks to LeBron throwing himself into some defenders and getting a foul, Boston had taken an eight-point lead.
Then Ray Allen took the game over. Cleveland finally started to get some baskets (this was LeBron’s one good stretch of the game), but Ray Allen answered by draining a jumper every time Boston had the ball. He’s one of the best shooters of all time. He does stuff like that.
Here are a couple of key plays from the stretch that was the beginning of the end for the Cavs in this game:
-After the Cavs force Pierce into missing an 18-footer, Big Baby comes up with the offensive rebound and finds Allen for a three. The lead goes from five to eight.
-After Mo (IDIOTICALLY) heat-checks after one made three, Rondo finds Allen for a three in semi-transition. The lead goes from four to seven.
-After halftime, the Celtics open the half by going to KG in the post. He misses a fadeaway, Allen comes up with the offensive rebound, gets it back, and drains a three. The lead goes from six to nine.
-On the next Celtics possession, Paul Pierce misses a mid-range shot. Rondo tips the rebound to Pierce, who finds Allen for a three. The lead goes from nine to 12. The Celtics lead by double-digits for the rest of the game.
After that, it was all misery. The Cavs couldn’t get a stop. The Celtics couldn’t miss a shot. The team waited for a LeBron takeover that never came. Game over. Complete and utter embarrassment.
-I’ll start with this. I’ve had some tough moments as a Cavs fan. I remember how close the Cavs came to beating the Pistons in game six back in 2006. I remember how LeBron was completely overmatched by that Spurs team right after the best moments of his career. I remember how the Cavs just couldn’t get over that hump in Boston in 2008. I remember the Cavs blowing that lead, wasting a career performance by LBJ, and watching that Lewis three go down in game one last year. I remember how close they came to taking game four in that same series. The Cavs have disappointed me. They have made me profoundly miserable.
All that said, this is my lowest moment as a serious Cavalier fan. Why? Because I have never been ashamed to be a fan of this team or LeBron James until tonight. I am now. There’s no excuse for that type of effort. I’ve defended LeBron a lot in the past. I can’t, in good conscience, do so tonight. He couldn’t hit a jump shot. He wasn’t aggressive enough. He couldn’t do anything against Boston when they collapsed on him in the paint.
I don’t know why it happened. Maybe he was just off. Maybe he started doubting himself. Maybe he doesn’t care that much. Maybe he’s already thinking about where he’ll be next season. Maybe it was the goddamned elbow. Maybe he still hasn’t evolved his game enough. Maybe he couldn’t deal with the pressure. Whatever it was, he had maybe the worst game of his career in a huge playoff game. You don’t see that on the resumes of many legends. I still support the guy. I still want him to come back to Cleveland. At the end of the day, I do still believe he’s the best active basketball player. But good lord, this was terrible and inexcusable. He can turn it around in game six at Boston, or he can have this game follow him to his grave. It’s his career. I just write about it.
-Well, Mike Brown pulling Mo for Boobie right as Mo was actually getting in the paint and dropping dimes to Shaq for dunks reeked of desperation, didn’t it?
-This may have been one of Shaq’s better offensive games as a Cavalier. Good for him. Although I’m not sure how he only managed four rebounds in 27 minutes.
-The Cavs’ four best young players combined to go 5-14. Splendid.
Bullets of Randomness:
-I’m really starting to think Ray Allen isn’t going to sign with the Cavs this off-season. I’m also starting to think he’s somehow one of the most underrated players of his generation.
-Glen Davis had as many points as LeBron did.
Alright, that’s all I can give tonight. This was the low point for me. Game six could make everything all better. It’s not over yet, even if it feels like it. Until Thursday, try not to think about basketball. I’ll see you then.