|02.26.10 at 1:20 am ET|
Before Thursday, LeBron James had pretty much mastered every opponent on every court in the NBA.
The lone exception was Boston. Including four games of the 2008 playoffs, the Celtics had beaten Cleveland nine straight on the parquet. And after one quarter, the Celtics certainly appeared headed for No. 10 with a 31-21 lead. But that’s when the Cavaliers, and specifically James and teammate Mo Williams, said enough was enough.
James had 36 and Williams canned four of his five 3-pointers in the second half as the Cavs ran away from the Celtics, 108-88, at TD Garden.
Afterward, he spoke to the great play of his team in the second half, what it was like to finally win in Boston and picking up the slack for the injured Shaquille O’Neal.
|02.26.10 at 1:06 am ET|
Marquis Daniels is sick.
Not sniffly nose sick, but that stay-in-bed-all-day kind of sick where you can’t help but feel bad for him when you see that pained look on his face.
He fought through picks, defenders, and illness. Daniels hustled for 31 minutes, defended LeBron James, grabbed three rebounds, and picked off a steal along the way.
‘He did a great job,’ said Glen Davis. ‘Being sick is tough. He’s a competitor and he plays hard. But he went out there and did what he had to do.’
After the game Daniels looked exhausted as he slouched at his locker. His voice was faint and he simply shook his head when asked how he felt.
The Celtics will not practice on Friday. Daniels will wait until then to talk to the doctors about what he kind of activity he should or should not do.
But even though he is sick, it’s his dedication that’s most contagious.
‘I commend him because the last day or so he’s been somewhat shaky and not strong,’ said Ray Allen. ‘You could tell that his energy was very low. So for him to be out there, I definitely commend him.’
|02.25.10 at 10:48 pm ET|
Well, it happened again.
The Celtics blew a one-point fourth quarter lead and found themselves looking at a double-digit deficit down the stretch.
The Cavaliers simply had more hustle and more energy when it counted. They outscored the Celtics 35-14 in the fourth to take away a 108-88 victory in Boston.
Player of the Game: LeBron James carried his team the entire game. He had scored 32 of the Cavaliers 73 points after three and finished the night with 36.
Turning Point:The Cavaliers took a 75-74 lead off of a J.J. Hickson bucket and never looked back. Even with James on the bench, they stretched the lead and created a cushion for James when he returned.
– Kendrick Perkins and James got involved in a tiff in the fourth quarter. Perkins took offense to James’ foul, and Anderson Varejao stepped in to interject. Varejao got whistled for a technical.
– It was a night of debuts at the Garden. Former Celtic Leon Powe played his first game of the regular season while newly acquired Marcus Landry made his debut for the C’s.
|02.25.10 at 10:14 pm ET|
Third quarters have been causes for concern for the Celtics this season. The good news for the C’s is they didn’t blow the lead. The not-so-good news for the Celtics is the Cavs got back within one.
The C’s entered the third quarter up eight, 56-48. But the more LeBron James got to the basket, the smaller their edge got. The Cavs trailed just 74-73 heading into the fourth.
James scored 12 points in the quarter and got to the line seven times. (He made four attempts.) Ray Allen led the Celtics with seven points in the quarter, but Rajon Rondo added just one to his total (15 points).
The Celtics have contained James’ teammates so far, but no lead is ever guaranteed with a clutch player on the court late in the game.
|02.25.10 at 9:20 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo has 14 points and eight assists, while Ray Allen has 13 on 5-for-7 shooting and 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Kevin Garnett also had a big half with eight points and six rebounds. LeBron James leads all scorers with 21 points.
Doc Rivers played Rondo and Nate Robinson together in the backcourt for a significant stretch of the second quarter. The Cavalier guards presented an excellent opportunity for Rivers to try the alignment as Mo Williams and Delonte West don’t present matchup problems with their size. Robinson scored six quick points off jump shots on the pick and roll.
Shaquille O’Neal went to the locker room halfway through the second quarter. He will miss the rest of the game after suffering a thumb injury. Former Celtic Leon Powe made his season debut for the Cavaliers and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Powe had been rehabbing after knee surgery.
|02.25.10 at 8:57 pm ET|
Doc Rivers hinted before Thursday’s game with Cleveland that he planned to employ several different defensive strategies on LeBron James, including using one of his best big defenders on the big guard.
With Paul Pierce out for the second straight game with a sprained thumb and Marquis Daniels weakened with flu-like symptoms, Rivers was forced to get creative to come up with ways to defend the 6-8 swingman.
“Tony [Allen]is the other guy right now, and then Marcus [Landry] maybe, Scal maybe, maybe Kevin [Garnett],” Rivers said. “We’ll find that out. We don’t know what Marquis can give us so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
|02.25.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Rondo had a hand in all of the Celtics first 21 points. He scored 10 of them himself and assisted on the other five field goals as the C’s made 10 of their first 13 shots before a Cleveland timeout. He finished the quarter with 12 points and six assists.
Paul Pierce did not play (thumb, flu) and Doc Rivers suggested before the game that he could miss more time. The Celtics play the lowly Nets on Saturday and then don’t play again until Tuesday so there’s good chance to get him some rest. Marquis Daniels did play despite suffering from the flu. Daniels started in Pierce’s place and drew the assignment of guarding LeBron James.
James kept the Cavaliers in the game with 10 points.
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