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Fast Break: Celtics – Cavs

05.01.10 at 10:57 pm ET
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The Celtics surrendered an 11-point halftime lead and lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, 101-93, to the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

All eyes were on LeBron James — and his elbow — as the series opened. James had a quiet first quarter (1-5 FG) but finished with a game-high 35 points. He shot 12-for-24 from the floor,  3-for-6 from 3-point range, and 8-for-11 from the line.

The C’€™s were led by Rajon Rondo, who posted 27 points and 12 assists. Rondo’€™s most impressive offensive contribution was at the free throw line, where he hit 12 of his 14 attempts.

In spite of a dominating first half, the C’€™s were outscored 58-39 in the second half, as Mo Williams and James propelled the Cavs.

Turning point: With the Cavs up 96-93, Shaquille O’€™Neal missed a layin with 1:01 to go. However the Celtics failed to rebound, and O’€™Neal grabbed not one, but two offensive boards. He made the follow up shot over Kendrick Perkins to give the Cavs a critical five-point lead.

First Quarter: Celtics 26 – Cavaliers 20

It was Paul Pierce, not James, who dominated the game early. He scored eight of the Celtics first 10 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the floor. Then Rondo took over. He leads all players with nine points, including a 3-pointer to end the quarter. He also dished a game-high five assists.

James led the Cavs with seven points, but five of them came at the line. He shot just 1-for-5 from the field.

The Celtics outshot the Cavs, 52.4% to 30.0%, and are outrebounding them, 16-12. The C’€™s, however, were called for three more fouls than the Cavs. Glen Davis has three personals. Kendrick Perkins received stitches above his lip after suffering a cut early in the first quarter.

Halftime: Celtics 54 – Cavaliers 43

The first half of Game 1 belonged to Rondo. The fiery point guard leads all players with 19 points and eight assists. He shot 6-for-8 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

After scoring seven points in the first quarter, James doubled his total in the second by shooting 3-for-5 from the floor.

Both teams have key players with foul trouble, although the Celtics had the bigger disadvantage. Glen Davis was called for four personals in the first half while Pierce and Rasheed Wallace have three apiece. For the Cavs, O’€™Neal was sidelined with three.

Tony Allen was assessed a technical foul from the bench for arguing and offensive foul called on Rondo.

Third quarter: Cavaliers 79 – Celtics 78

The Celtics lost control of their double-digit lead and trail by one entering the fourth quarter. James hit the go-ahead basket as time expired.

Led by 12 third quarter points from Williams, the Cavs outscored the Celtics, 36-24, in the third. James scored another nine to lead his team with 23 points.

Rondo continued to lead the Celtics with 24 points. He was sent to the bench, however, when he picked up his fourth foul in the third. Davis also had four fouls, while Pierce and Wallace had three apiece.

Fourth Quarter: Cavaliers 101, Celtics 93

The Cavs continued their offensive attack in the final 12 minutes. They outscored the Celtics, 22-15, in the fourth quarter to claim the comeback victory. In the end, the Celtics were whistled for 25 fouls, compared to 17 against the Cavs. Every Celtics starter except for Ray Allen was called for at least three fouls. The Cavs outscored the C’s, 21-17, at the line.

Game 2 will be played in Cleveland on Monday.

Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs

05.01.10 at 10:08 pm ET
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Third quarter: Cavaliers 79 – Celtics 78

The Celtics lost control of their double-digit lead and trail by one entering the fourth quarter. LeBron James hit the go-ahead basket as time expired.

Led by 12 third quarter points from Mo Williams, the Cavs outscored the Celtics, 36-24, in the third. James scored another nine to lead his team with 23 points.

Rajon Rondo continues to lead the Celtics with 24 points. He was sent to the bench, however, when he picked up his fourth foul in the third. Glen Davis also has four fouls, while Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace have three apiece.

The Celtics are 1-0 in the postseason when trailing after three quarters.

Second Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs

05.01.10 at 9:21 pm ET
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Halftime: Celtics 54 – Cavaliers 43

The first half of Game 1 belonged to Rajon Rondo. The fiery point guard leads all players with 19 points and eight assists. He shot 6-for-8 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

After scoring seven points in the first quarter, LeBron James doubled his total in the second by shooting 3-for-5 from the floor.

Both teams have key players with foul trouble, although the Celtics have the bigger disadvantage. Glen Davis was called for four personals in the first half while Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace have three apiece. For the Cavs, Shaquille O’Neal was sidelined with three.

Tony Allen was assessed a technical foul from the bench for arguing and offensive foul called on Rondo.

First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs

05.01.10 at 8:40 pm ET
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First quarter: Celtics 26, Cavaliers 20

All eyes were on LeBron James — and his elbow — as the Celtics and Cavaliers series got underway. James led the Cavs with seven points, but five of them came at the line. He shot just 1-for-5 from the field.

It was Paul Pierce, not James, who dominated the game early. He scored eight of the Celtics first 10 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the floor. Then Rajon Rondo took over. He leads all players with nine points, including a 3-pointer to end the quarter. He also dished a game-high five assists.

The Celtics outshot the Cavs, 52.4% to 30.0%, and are outrebounding them, 16-12. The C’s, however, were called for three more fouls than the Cavs. Glen Davis has three personals.

Kendrick Perkins received stitches above his lip after suffering a cut early in the first quarter.

LeBron rested, ready

05.01.10 at 7:47 pm ET
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CLEVELAND –The most important elbow in basketball spent the last three days avoiding contact, but LeBron James said prior to Game 1 between the Cavaliers and Celtics that he is ready.

“I spent the last three days concentrating and preparing for this series,” James said. “I expect a lot of physical play. I haven’t done much physically in practice, I’ve been very conscious, knowing that today is the most important day besides the last three days, physically. We took it very light the last few days. I’m ready for today.”

We won’t the full extent of his elbow injury until the two teams take the floor, but the Celtics are preparing as if he is 100 percent.

Read More: LeBron James,

Celtics seek to find Mo

05.01.10 at 7:40 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Rajon Rondo is one of the best offensive rebounding point guards in the NBA. For a team that doesn’t get a lot of offensive boards to begin with, his ability to crash the glass and keep possessions alive is yet another piece of Rondo’s unique package.

But against the Cavs, Rondo may have to use his discretion. That’s because Mo Williams, Cleveland’s ace 3-point specialist is on the other side.

“Offensive rebounds are great as long as you get them, but when you don’€™t get them you’€™re probably going to give up a basket on the offensive end.,” Doc Rivers said prior to Game 1. “Against Cleveland, it’€™s even more important because if our points guards go to the glass and don’€™t get it, Mo Williams is probably going to get a 3. Most of his 3’€™s against us came in transition. Most of Mo’€™s 3’€™s against everyone else came through set offense. We’€™re pretty sure that we have to get back and find him.”

Williams shot 55 percent on 3’s against the Celtics this season (12-for-22) and the Celtics have made defending the arc a tip priority in this series. The other concern for Rivers is that when Rondo drives to the basket, that could leave him vulnerable in transition.

“Mo will leak out,” Rivers said. “That’s the other place that he got 3’s.”

Still, Rivers doesn’t want to completely take away this aspect of Rondo’s game. Just as he is allowed some leeway on the perimeter when he goes for steals, he is also allowed some latitude when he crashes the glass.

Cavs coach Mike Brown indicated that it’s difficult to prepare for Rondo because there’s no way to replicate what he does in practice.

“I think that guy is in Jamaica,” Rivers said. “His name is Usain Bolt. Just like we can’t recreate LeBron [James]. You can’t recreate any of those guys.”

Rivers has spoken in glowing terms about Rondo’s increased maturity this season. From running the team and calling plays, to knowing when to gamble for steals and you can add his rebounding to that list, as well. There’s a lot riding on Rondo’s shoulders in this series.

Read More: Mo Williams, Rajon Rondo,

Allen prepared for Cavs defense

05.01.10 at 12:30 am ET
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The Celtics are zoned in on containing LeBron James, but two years ago the Cavaliers were on the same mission against Ray Allen.

Allen enters the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals averaging nearly 20 points in the first round. His next opponent, however, is the same team that shut him down offensively in the past.

The Cavaliers held Allen to just 9.3 points per game in the second round of the 2008 playoffs. He only hit four 3-pointers in the seven-game series and shot less than 35 percent from the field. It was a dramatic drop in offensive production.

‘€œI was put on defense more, but the way they were guarding me in Cleveland, they jumped me every pick-and-roll,’€ Allen explained. ‘€œThe way we played, they weren’€™t letting me come off pin downs. I think in the regular season I was averaging 22 or 23 against them, so their mindset was, ‘€˜We’€™re not going to let him get involved. We’€™re going to take everything away from him.’€™ They did a good job of that.’€

Allen was the Celtics leading scorer against the Cavs this regular season, averaging 22.5 points (48.3% FG, 57.7% 3PG) in four games. He expects the Cavaliers to step up their defense in the playoffs and can anticipate how to counter their attack.

‘€œI just know during the playoffs, they contribute two guys to me, always, just when I’€™m coming off pin downs,’€ Allen said. ‘€œI have to make the right play, (Rajon) Rondo has to be in the right position, our bigs have to be in the right position, and we have to capitalize off of that. The only way we can force them away from that kind of defense is if we penalize them for doing that.’€

The Celtics often practice beating a double-team during shootaround, Allen explained. They run through various scenarios that leave different players open.

Allen also prepares himself for double team by watching game tape. This allows him to see where his teammates are on the court from a different point of view. In most instances, it is either Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, or Rondo’€™s defender who is helping on D, creating opportunities for them to get open.

‘€œI’€™ve just got to know where Kevin is, where Perk is, where Rondo’€™s going to be,’€ he said. ‘€œRondo’€™s man always help, Perk’€™s man always helps, Kevin’€™s always flashing if he’€™s not setting a screen. When I come off a pin down, it happens so fast. So right before I come off a screen, I almost have to look and see what exactly they’€™re doing, and then I know I can throw it back and go, or Perk is rolling and he’€™s got a layup, Kevin has a jumpshot. So it’€™s just like a split-second decision.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, Ray Allen
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