By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Iron Still Unkind to LeBron in Boston
After not scoring a point in Game One, Ray Allen was able to get it going in the second half of Game Two when he scored all 16 of his points.
But LeBron James struggled for the second game in a row as the Cavaliers were blown out at the TD Banknorth Garden 89-73. After holding the young King to 2-for-18 from the field and forcing him to commit 10 turnovers on Tuesday, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics collectively held James to 6-for-24 shooting with seven turnovers.
James got the Cavaliers off to a good start by scoring six points in a little less than three minutes, giving Cleveland a 21-9 advantage with 3:01 remaining in the opening quarter. Boston was able to cut into the lead when Celtics coach Doc Rivers inserted Sam Cassell and James Posey in the game for Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen.
Cleveland led by seven at the end of the quarter (24-17), and with Leon Powe, Posey, PJ Brown, Cassell, and Pierce starting the second quarter (Ray Allen substituted for Pierce within 15 seconds of the second quarter), the Celtics were able to take the lead immediately after a Cleveland timeout when Posey stole former Celtic Delonte West’s pass and dribbled the length of the court for two-handed slam (28-27).
The Celtics never looked back from there.
Pierce checked back in the game with 4:22 remaining in the half, and the 18,624 fans at the Garden showed their appreciation for the unsung work that Posey does by giving him a standing ovation, scoring four points in the second frame on 2-for-3 shooting, grabbing three rebounds, coming up with the steal that took the lead, and holding LeBron James without a field goal.
Leon Powe, Cassell, and PJ Brown also sparked the Cs in the second quarter. The Powe Man scored seven points on 3-for-5 from the field and grabbing six rebounds, four from the offensive end; PJ Brown converted both of his field goal attempts, and came up with two rebounds and a steal, as Boston outscored Cleveland 27-12.
Cassell, who closed the first quarter with a 14-foot turnaournd on Boobie Gibson, scored five points and dished out two assists in the second quarter, and ended the half with a finger roll down the middle of the lane as Boston took a 44-36 lead heading into the locker room.
“You’ve got to give the Celtics credit,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said after the Game Two loss. “Their second unit was able to come up with key rebounds and key loose balls. It was almost like every loose ball the Celtics beat us to it, so you have to give them credit for doing that the entire night.”
“It really was the second unit: Posey and Leon gave us energy, effort,” said Celtics coach Glen “Doc” Rivers. “Everybody wants to start off the game well. I just thought we honestly started off flat. They were attacking the glass, all the loose balls. We just didn’t have great energy to start the game.”
“The second units saw that. They saw it during the timeouts when we talked about it. They came out and did it. No adjustments. We didn’t make a defensive adjustment. We just got to places quicker, faster, and better.”
“I thought the bench was a real key to why we got the lead and kept the lead,” said Captain Paul Pierce. “Of course, you know what Sam Cassell does, what he brings when he comes into the game. James Posey has been tremendous for us defensively and offensively.”
“Leon Powe, PJ Brown, you know the guys who contributed, who got in the game and really did a great job for us. It was a total team effort and this is the way we want to play each and every night. We kept our turnovers down. We rebounded the ball, made the extra pass, and we got the job done defensively.”
“And that’s true Celtics basketball right there.”
“The bench came in and gave us energy and we never looked back from that,” added Kevin Garnett, who finished the game with 13 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
King James has not been playing like royalty in the first two games of the best-of-seven series. James has combined for 8-for-42 (19%) from the field and has committed 17 total turnovers as the Cavaliers take an 0-2 deficit heading back to Cleveland.
When asked about whether or not his poor shooting performance has frustrated him, James responded by saying, “I’m not frustrated. When I miss the shots that I know I can make, that can be frustrating. But overall I’m more frustrated with the turnovers I’ve had more than anything.”
“Me missing a few shots here, and going through a period or stretch where I can’t make a shot, I’m not frustrated more than me having 17 turnovers in two games. I’m more frustrated with that because I know how to protect the ball.”
“I’ve been pretty good at protecting the ball over this whole season and in the playoffs. So I’m more frustrated at that.”
“You know LeBron is missing some shots he could make and we understand that,” said Coach Rivers. “We understand also, like I was saying before that game, that he is going to get shots and it’s the defense that we are going to want to play and he’s gong to make those shots. What we can’t do is overreact to that.”
“We have to just stay solid and trust even if he gets it going.”
Paul Pierce told the truth and admitted that he was a little shocked at James’ shooting performance, but refused to take the credit for being the main cause. “It’s not me. It’s everybody man. It’s Kevin. It’s Perk. It’s mostly the big guys who are stepping up showing the help. When you got guys 6-10, 7 feet putting their arms out, showing on the pick and rolls, crowding him on traps, it makes it tough for him. “
“It puts him in a position to where he has to start forcing things and that is what we try to do. It is total team defense. They guys we key in on him. I mean you look at their team and they are solid all the way around with great shooters, but LeBron is what make them go and if we can somehow control him then we can control their team and with the help of the guys around me, we have been able to do that.”
Ray Allen may have broken out of the shooting slump he’s had in the playoffs. The Celtic guard finished the game 4-for-10 from the field and 1-for-3 from beyond the arc.
After going six quarters, including Tuesday’s game, without scoring a point, Sugar Ray got it going after he missed a shot, came up with a steal on Zydrunas Ilgauskas after Ilgauskas rebounded the ball, and finished with a left-handed layup from the left side. Allen would go on to score 11 points in the third frame and shot 4-for-7 from the field and a perfect seven from the line in the second half.
Rivers admitted he made a concerted effort to get Allen into a rhythm in the third quarter. “I told the coaches at halftime we’re going to him over and over again. We’ve got to get him going.”
“It’s funny, the first play he had a shot and missed it then the loose ball and the layup. The shooters just need something to go in. Then the layup got him going and that was big.”
“I thought in the beginning of the third quarter, Ray Allen was super aggressive,” said Garnett. “You know he went to the basket and you can tell he had and edge to him.”
Allen said he was never concerned about his recent shooting woes. “You get to the point out there when you are playing and you try not to worry about the offense because the defense is more important,” said Mr. He Got Game.
“You get to the point where if you worry about missing shots then you start pressing. I just bid my time, and figured I would let it come to me and just attack when it happens. So I tried to focus more on the defensive end than anything so it worked out.”
The Celtics have played extremely well at home so far in the playoffs. In six home games, the Cs have held their opponents to 75.5 points per game and 35.5% from the field.
“I think Doc said it from Day One,” told the Truth. If we are going to be a good team, one of the best teams in the NBA, we got to play well at home and establish our home court. He said that this year with the team we had because he felt like we can do something special at home this year.”
“All year long we have been tough t beat here at home and this is where we want to defend our home court and not let anybody come in here and get comfortable.”
However, the Green have yet to win a road game in the playoffs, and head to the Quicken Loans Arena to play the Cavaliers on their home court on Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
“Home court has always been good for us,” said LeBron. “So we’re going to use the crowd and we just have to continue to try to keep our heads up on offense and try to make the extra pass and get some teammates open; get some guys some good looks.”
“We just got to come out and play,” said Doc Rivers. ” Cleveland is probably a better team. Their record says that. They were Eastern Conference champions last year. It’s not going to be easy and we know that. It’s not going to be easy on the road. So, we just have to go in with the same mindset and play our game.”
“The mindset is one at a time. We want to focus on trying to get the first win in Cleveland,” said KG. “We talked about some of the things that worked tonight. Obviously, ball movement, rebounding, communication, and then our defense obviously has to be there.”
“We are going into a hostile building and we know that they play really well at home. They have a lot of confidence at home, and they play with tremendous energy at home.”
” Boston should be confident about it, they have great stars, but it is what the series is about,” said Coach Brown. “It is not over until someone wins four games. Half our team has been in this situation before. We know that Game Three is a separate entity and we will get energized from our crowd and try to get a win.”