|05.14.10 at 1:06 pm ET|
One man’s misfortune often is another’s opportunity. Such was the case for Tony Allen in the recent series against the NBA’s MVP and the team with the best record in the NBA this regular season.
And help he did, as he held James to single figures in the first quarter and applied pressure throughout the second half in key spurts. The superstar wound up with a triple-double but he hardly was able to dictate the pace and tempo of the game with his trademark rocket cross-court passes as the Celtics prevailed, 94-85, to advance to Sunday’s opener of the Eastern Conference finals in Orlando.
‘That’s my role on this team,” Allen said. “I’ve got to be aggressive, just as aggressive as he is. For the most part I took that challenge. He still had a great night offensively all around. My whole thing is just to contain him, and listen to my bigs in transition.’
As the Cavaliers were in the midst of a big run, cutting the lead to four on back-to-back 3’s by James, Allen recalled a key turning point.
‘I remember while being in the game, I just missed getting to [LeBron] and then got encouraged from my bigs ‘ I didn’t hear them and they cut into the lead. For the most part we stuck together, we grinded it out. We were able to get back to the lead up.’
From that point on, the Celtics re-established their double-digit lead.
Paul Pierce had a couple of huge baskets including a 3-pointer and felt like he had more energy toward the end of the game, thanks in part to T.A.
‘It wasn’t really that grueling for me because I was in foul trouble, Pierce said. “I think it was more grueling for Ray and Tony because he’s a special talent, obviously he’s the best player in the NBA, tough to guard one-on-one, but you have to give a lot of credit to the other guys. He did his job, got me in foul trouble, but I’m a lot fresher in this series because of the foul trouble than I was when I played against him two years ago when he just completely wore me down.
“But those other guys, they played their hearts out on defense, it wasn’t just me, it was Ray [Allen], Tony, Kevin, Rasheed, Baby [Glen Davis], it was a number of guys. There is no person that can guard the guy so lets just leave it at that, it was nothing that one person did, it was a collective group, it was a team defense that was surrounded around stopping him.’
Ultimately, the Cavs learned that a team of reserves like Tony Allen can help shut down a team led by the two-time reigning MVP.
‘Most definitely, at the end of the day everybody has their role,” Allen said. “Like Doc said before the game, ‘Do your role, do your role 100 percent.’ Everybody took that challenge, and we were fortunate enough to get that win.
‘It was big, but I think guys came in focused. They meant what they said, they didn’t want to go back to Cleveland. At the end of the day we prepared for this, and we were where we wanted to be.’
|05.14.10 at 6:38 am ET|
The Celtics will travel to Orlando to open the Eastern Conference finals Sunday afternoon. Following Game 2 Tuesday night, the teams will take a few days off before resuming the series in Boston on the following Saturday and Monday nights. Rest up now, because after Game 1, all of the games are scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. You can listen to every game on WEEI. Here’s the complete schedule:
Game 1: Sunday, May 16, at Orlando, 3:30 p.m. (ABC, WEEI)
Game 2: Tuesday, May 18, at Orlando, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
Game 3: Saturday, May 22, at Boston, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
Game 4: Monday, May 24, at Boston, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
*Game 5: Wednesday, May 26, at Orlando, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
*Game 6: Friday, May 28, at Boston, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
*Game 7: Sunday, May 30, at Orlando, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, WEEI)
* if necessary
|05.14.10 at 3:33 am ET|
The Cavaliers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden. After the game, Lebron James spoke about his future to the media. Kevin Garnett and Mike Brown also talked about the future of the NBA superstar.
|05.14.10 at 3:16 am ET|
Following the Cavaliers‘ season-ending, 94-85 loss to the Celtics, Thursday night at TD Garden, Cleveland’s LeBron James spoke about both his injured left elbow and impending free agency. James finished his team’s Game 6 loss with 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists, but also had nine turnovers.
“LIke I said, I make no excuses and I had opportunities to do things that I wanted to do, it just didn’t fall for me,” said James, who went 8-for-21 from the floor in 46 minutes. “I’m not using the elbow as an excuse. It limited me some. You hope to be 100 percent going into any series, but at this point of the season I don’t know if there is anybody on both teams that’s 100 percent.”
When told it appeared as though the elbow limited his performance, James responded, “Well, I got a lot of time to think about it now.”
Besides the elbow, the other more most talked about subject when it came to James was the fact that the loss to the Celtics could represent the guard’s last game as a member of the Cavaliers. James is eligible to become a free agent this offseason, and figures to be courted by such teams as Chicago, Miami, and New York (which was represented by nine media outlets at the TD Garden Thursday night).
“I will approach this summer with the right mindset,” James said. “Me and my team will approach it the right way but I haven’t really thought about just now. Kinda still trying to figure out what went wrong in this series or things that we did right. We’ll see what happens.’
As for what James will be prioritizing when it comes to picking a team to play for, he made it clear that joining a contender will be most important.
‘First of all I want to win,” he said. “And I mean, that’s my only thing; that’s my only concern. I’ve always prided myself on becoming a better basketball [player] individually and then taking it to, onto the court. I mean, it’s all about winning for me and I think the Cavs is committed to do that, but at the same time I’ll give myself options to this point. And like I said before, me and my team, we have game plan that we’re going to execute, and we’ll see where we’ll be at.’
With the scrutiny of James figuring to only amplify after two straight subpar performances, closing out his season, a few members of the Celtics came to the star’s defense following the series’ finale.
“He’s 25 but he’s getting this kind of pressure since eighth grade,” said Celtics forward Michael Finley. “I met LeBron earlier in his high school career and when came into the gym it was the same media attention that he’s getting now. He’s used to it. It doesn’t faze him. He’s a good kid. In my opinion he has the most pressure of anyone in the NBA on his shoulders night in and night out and he handles it as a professional.”
“I thought it was madness what happened to him over the last 48 hours,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “People don’t realize how good he is, and he’s human. He had a bad game. Tonight wasn’t one, I can tell you that … He’s a great kid. He’s everything you want. If someone else gets him they’ll be the luckiest team in the league.”
|05.13.10 at 11:09 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo scored 21 points with 12 assists and Kevin Garnett added 22 points to lead Boston scorers as the Celtics defeated the Cavs by a final score of 94–85 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinal Series.
The Celtics win the series 4-2, the second time in the last three seasons that they have sent James and the Cavs packing.
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be Sunday at Orlando.
A 10-0 fourth-quarter run by the Celtics was punctuated by a Garnett dunk to give Boston an 88-74 lead with 5:50 left. The Cavaliers made a few small runs, but could never get closer than four points.
James, playing what could be his last game with the Cavs, was sloppy but extraordinarily active, finishing with 27 points (on 8-of-21 shooting) 19 rebounds, 10 assists and nine turnovers. Mo Williams scored 22 points, but only had two points in the second half.
The Cavs shot only 38.4 percent from the floor in the game and finished with 22 turnovers.
Paul Pierce struggled in the first half (two points) but had 11 second-half points, including three three-point field goals. Tony Allen (10 points, strong defense on James) and Rasheed Wallace (13 points) played well off the bench.
The Celtics led by a score of 51-49 at halftime.
Rondo topped the Celtics with 12 points in the half.
Mo Williams, who had struggled since a big Game 1, was the story for the Cavs in the first half, pacing all players with 20 points. James took 12 shots (just two fewer than Game 5), but made just four. He finished the first half with 12 points, six boards, five assists and four turnovers.
The Celtics had a three-point edge (25-22) after the first quarter. The lead was as large as nine (20-11), but the Celtics made just one field goal in the final 5:11. The Celts shot 55.6 percent in the quarter, led by Garnett, who made all four field-goal attempts to lead all Celtics with eight points. Rondo had five points and four assists, but also turned the ball over four times. The Celtics had six turnovers in the opening quarter, leading to seven Cavs points. That kept the game close as the Cavs shot just 40 percent from the floor.
For the Cavs, Williams led all players with 10 points and James had nine points (on 3-of-8 shooting,) five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three turnovers. That was the story all game for James as he could never find his rhythm.
The third quarter was the game’s most physical, with the Celtics emerging with a 76-67 lead. Plenty of hard fouls and pushing and shoving. Garnett and Pierce each had eight points in the quarter.
|05.13.10 at 9:25 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo topped the Celtics with 12 points. He also has seven assists and three steals. But the big story of the first half? Foul trouble for the Celtics. Rondo, along with Paul Pierce, has three fouls. Tony Allen came off the bench to score 10 points and Kevin Garnett also chipped in with 10 on five-of-six shooting.
Mo Williams, who has struggled since a big Game 1, was the story for the Cavs in the first half, pacing all players with 20 points. LeBron James took 12 shots (just two fewer than Game 5), but made just four. He finished the first half with 12 points, six boards, five assists and four turnovers.
The Celtics led by three points (25-22) after the first quarter. The lead was as large as nine points (20-11), but the Celtics made just one field goal in the final 5:11. Despite the cold stretch, the Celts shot 55.6 percent in the quarter, led by Garnett, who made all four field-goal attempts to lead all Celtics with eight points. Rondo had five points and four assists, but also turned the ball over four times. The Celtics had six turnovers in the opening quarter, leading to seven Cavs points. That kept the game close as the Cavs shot just 40 percent from the floor.
For the Cavs, Williams led all players with 10 points and James had nine points (on 3-of-8 shooting,) five rebounds, two assists, two steals and three turnovers. A sloppy first quarter from James, but unlike Game 5 he was anything but passive.
|05.13.10 at 8:43 pm ET|
Last year, the Celtics were in the same round with the same advantage.
They were up, 3-2, having two chances to get one win and advance to the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics blew a double-digit lead in Game 6 before getting blown out in the second half of Game 7 at home against Orlando.
Fast forward 12 months, and these Celtics entered Game 6 Thursday with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a win over LeBron and the Cavaliers. Any lesson to be learned?
“No, different team,” Rivers answered before Thursday’s contest. “We’re playing a different team. Orlando outplayed us so all we learned there is you have to play better. You have to try to seize the moment when you have the home court but at the end of the day, you have to perform.
“If Cleveland comes out and makes more shots and does their game plan better than ours, we won’t win. If we do ours, we’ll win. Last year won’t help you.”
And Rivers was totally in agreement with Kevin Garnett’s sentiments following the Game 5 blowout win in Cleveland. The Celtics want no part of Game 7 in Cleveland and look at Game 6 as a must win.
“We are, we are,” Rivers said. “We’ve won in Cleveland twice. We don’t want to press our luck. We have to view it the same way they are. It’s a big game for both teams.”
Rivers – an Orlando resident – knows the Magic await the winner and responded with humor when asked what he thought Orlando was thinking watching this series.
“Orlando is a terrific city and so, yes, it’s warm, it’s 80 degrees most likely,” Rivers said tongue-in-cheek. “They’re having a ball. They love it.”
Then he took a more serious approach, pointing out the Magic have earned their rest this round after sweeping through eight playoff games so far.
“They want it to go eight, if it can,” Rivers said of Orlando’s preference in watching the Celtics and Cavs. “There’s no doubt about it. If we were in the position they are in, they would want the same thing. They’ve earned it. They did it quick. They’ve only played eight games when you think about it. That’s pretty remarkable.”
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