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Rivers on Sheed: He has to play better

05.02.10 at 4:38 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Rasheed Wallace has said all season that the playoffs are what motivates him, but after a disastrous regular season, the playoffs have been pretty much the same story for the Celtics prized free agent acquisition.

Wallace picked up three quick fouls in the first half and went 1-for-5 in 13 minutes of Game 1 against the Cavaliers. He was also a liability again on the defensive end where his rotations were slow and his help defense was lacking.

“He has to play better, bottom line,” Doc Rivers said Sunday. “He has to play better defense. The offense will come but he has to be a better defender. We can’€™t wait. He has to play better.”

Rivers elected not to use Shelden Williams despite the heavy foul trouble that Wallace and Glen Davis found themselves in early in the game. That might change, although Rivers didn’t quite his tip his hand on that front.

“He is in the discussion every day,” Rivers said of Williams.

Is he is it more today?

“No,” Rivers answered. “But he definitely is in that discussion.”

Read More: Rasheed Wallace, Shelden Williams,

Celtics mantra for Game 2: Attack

05.02.10 at 4:32 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Many times in the NBA, the post-game reactions to what just occurred need to be tempered by what you see on the film later. Emotions are high, everyone is looking for that one key moment that changed everything (hello, Mo Williams), but after careful consideration the real truths start to emerge.

But for the Celtics after Game 1, the first impressions were often correct. They started the game by attacking the Cavaliers and then they stopped.

“I thought we settled,” Doc Rivers said. “I said it after the game. Usually after the game you say stuff and then you watch the film and half of it is true, half of it is what you thought you saw. But it’€™s pretty much what we saw. We bailed out on a lot of shots, quick shots. We didn’€™t make a lot of next passes, we didn’€™t attack. We had guys flying at us in the air and we’€™re still trying to shoot jump shots instead of putting the ball back on the floor. That’€™s not even an adjustment. That’€™s what we should do anyway.”

The obvious follow-up question to all that was whether the Celtics were tired at the end of the game after Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo all logged between 38 and 45 minutes of time.

“It had nothing to do with fatigue,” Rivers said. “We settled. It happens.”

It wasn’t that the shots the Celtics took were necessarily bad ones either. Pierce had an open 3 that could have tied the game, but it didn’t fall. Garnett missed a number of shots in the lane, including a follow off an offensive rebound that he can make 99 times out of 100. But, the shots could have been better.

“I think the jumpers that we did get we’€™re good looks and that I’€™ll take,” Pierce said. “Doc talks about when the jumpers aren’€™t falling, you got to take the ball to the bucket. That’€™s part of the game. I was a little disappointed only going to the free throw line twice. I think I’€™ve got to be a little more aggressive in the paint. I’€™ll still take the shots that I took but I have to mix it up a little bit more.”

Pierce started off hot, making four of his five shots in the first quarter, but he was 1-for-12 after that.

What was particularly troubling to Rivers was that the Celtics didn’t handle the Cavs counter-attack very well. Yes, Williams lit up the crowd with a dunk, his first in a game with the Cavs, and yes he then went on a scoring binge, but the Celtics never had an answer for the run.

“We didn’€™t handle it well,” Rivers said. “We were walking, we didn’€™t get into our sets so it was easy to get us out of stuff. It was more because frustration was high. It happened, but it can’€™t happen, especially in a playoff game.”

As they prepared for Game 2, there was little talk of adjustments. Simply more effort and that was as evident Sunday afternoon as it was late Saturday evening.

Read More: Paul Pierce,

LeBron: I came out tentative

05.02.10 at 1:16 am ET
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CLEVELAND — It’s the story that won’t go away in this series and after a game in which LeBron James picked his spots instead of playing with his usual reckless abandon, the elbow dominated post-game talk, including a question about whether he had a cortisone shot.

“I did not take any shots,” he said. “I don’t like needles, so I didn’t do that. I tried not to hyperextend it any worse than it was. Did I come out a little tentative? I thought about it a little bit too much. It’s the first real injury I’ve had to play with, especially with it being on my shooting hand. I came out tentative, but if I’m on the court I have to be productive. I’m not a guy to make excuses.”

James took five shots in the first quarter, most of them in the lane, and missed four of them. He took two outside shots in the second quarter and missed them both. But then he heated up in the second half and finished with 35 points on 12-of-24 shooting and 4-for-9 from beyond the arc.

“I think his elbow is fine,” Doc Rivers said. “I’m pretty sure of it, actually. I really thought he was trying to get everyone involved. That’s what he does. He eases into the game and he actually did a pretty god job, but he just didn’t make some shots. You knew it was coming.”

Read More: LeBron James,

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.

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