|First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs||05.09.10 at 4:11 pm ET|
By the time the Cavaliers had jumped out to a 7-0 lead, the Celtics had shot 0-for-3, been whistled for two fouls, and committed a turnover. It was only 2:13 into the game.
Then the shots began to fall for the Celtics. Ray Allen hit a jumper, Rajon Rondo drove the lane, and Kevin Garnett made it to the free throw line. The Celtics went on an 8-0 run before taking the lead, 13-12, with 6:22 to go. From that point on, they outscored the Cavs, 18-10, to end the first quarter leading by nine.
Rondo leads all players with 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists. LeBron James leads the Cavs with eight points. The Celtics outscored the Cavs 14-8 in the paint. They also outrebounded the Cavs, 13-6, and outscored them 7-0 on second chance points.
|Big Baby on fans: ‘We’re a family’||05.09.10 at 3:33 pm ET|
‘I don’t understand why they boo,’ he said prior to Game 4. ‘Are they booing at us? I don’t understand what they’re booing at. But sometimes when you’re booing at us, it’s tough. It doesn’t matter. We’re a family. We’re all a family. All 20,000 of us. And your family is going to get on your nerves and be hard on each other, but don’t boo. Don’t boo us. That’s tough.’
The boos resonated so loudly during the Celtics 124-95 loss on Friday that Davis felt as if he was actually playing in Cleveland, not in front of a home crowd.
‘Last game things didn’t go our way and you might as well have said we were away. We were at home, it felt like we weren’t getting the calls and the next thing you know, we’re getting boos. It felt like we were away,’ he said, adding, ‘When you get booed at your own place it’s tough. But the fans have high expectations, but at the same time I don’t think Cleveland fans booed them when we were beating them by a lot.’
Davis isn’t upset with the fans. He understands the Celtics have set a high standard for success. He wants to deliver on it, too, as a thank you to the Celtics faithful.
‘When you walk out the arena and your own fans are telling you you’re old and you’re going to lose, and I’m walking out and I hear that kind of stuff, it gets you disappointed a little bit,’ Davis said. ‘Just to know that hey we may not have played as well, we make mistakes just like you guys do. Don’t count us out or feel like we suck just because we got beat. We did the same thing to [the Cavaliers] at their place.
“So it’s just tough when you hear boos at your own spot knowing that we come out here and we play not only for ourselves, but for the fans too because without the fans this wouldn’t be a game.’
|Perkins: ‘Without [Rondo], we’d be dead’||05.08.10 at 5:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Between Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett alone, it has never been easy to pinpoint the best player on the Celtics. Throw the development of Rajon Rondo into the mix this season, and the task is even tougher.
It’s easy, though, for Kendrick Perkins. Not only does he consider Rondo to be the C’s top player, he also considers him their lifeline.
‘I think right now, he’s the best player on our team,’ Perkins told WEEI.com following practice on Saturday. ‘Without Rondo, nothing goes. Pretty much we’ve got to play him the whole game because he just runs the whole team. Without him, we’d be dead.’
Rondo is playing a team-high 41 minutes per game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavaliers. His numbers have consistently improved from the regular season throughout the playoffs. In the first three games against the Cavs, he leads with team with 19.3 points and 13.0 assists, more than five points and three assists better than the regular season. He is also shooting 56.8 percent from the field and averaging 5.0 rebounds, more boards than Allen and Pierce.
‘I think he stepped up,’ said Perkins. ‘He’s been more focused than ever, in my opinion, and he’s been doing a great job of leading us.’
|Doc: ‘We’ve got to get stops’||05.08.10 at 4:31 pm ET|
‘Listen, if we’re going to talk about our offense when we just gave up 120 points, then we’ve got problems,’ he said after practice on Saturday. ‘That was not an offensive problem last night. That was a defensive problem. We score off our defense, off of getting stops, and if you’re going to take the ball out every time, you’re not scoring in the playoffs. You’ve got to get stops and multiple stops to score.’
The Celtics gave up 124 points to the Cavaliers on Friday, nearly 30 more points than their opponents’ regular season average. (In contrast, the C’s held the Heat to just 87.6 points per game in the first round victory.) The Cavaliers also shot a staggering 59.5 percent from the field in Game 3.
‘We’ve got to get stops,’ said Rivers. ‘We’ve got to make them miss. We’ve just got to make them miss shots. We know how to do that. I don’t think we had a lot of pressure on them. I thought they had us on our heels the entire game, and so we’ve got to get back up into them.’
|Celtics support Pierce’s offensive struggles||05.08.10 at 3:55 pm ET|
Pierce is shooting just 31 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range in the first three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavaliers. He is averaging 12.7 points, down from 18.3 in the regular season and 19.6 in the first round against the Heat.
After scoring 11 points (4-15 FG) in the Celtics Game 2 loss, Pierce said the Celtics’ success is not dependent on his offensive production. He believes his scoring will come, and his teammates feel the same way.
‘I’m not worried about P,’ Kendrick Perkins said after practice on Saturday. ‘I’ve been around with P a long time. I’ve seen P have a few bad nights and come back and have a 35-point night. So you just never know with P. I know he’s capable of having big games and he always steps up in big games.’
Pierce’s role during this series is more complicated than offensive contributions. He is tasked with guarding LeBron James, who after scoring 24 points in Game 2, scored 21 points in the first quarter of Game 3 alone. James finished the night with 38.
‘We do want to get him the ball more. He has to get his rhythm better, but he has a big job. Guarding LeBron is very difficult and it takes a lot out of him,’ said Doc Rivers, adding, ‘LeBron gets the ball 101 times a game. He handles the ball, he pushes the ball up the floor, he posts, so it will absolutely take something out of him. There’s no doubt about that.’
The Celtics understand the magnitude of Pierce’s role on defense. Kevin Garnett said he wants to see Pierce being aggressive on both ends of the floor. Perkins isn’t worried about whether or not that will happen.
‘We all go through times where we struggle a little bit,’ he said. ‘His intentions are good and he wants to win, but it’s just hard for him to have a big night on the offensive end when he’s guarding the most valuable player in the league. So we’ve just got to a great job of getting ball open, make sure we get him good shots, and just help him on defense. But he’s not a concern.’
|Fast Break: Celtics – Cavs||05.07.10 at 9:41 pm ET|
After a momentum building win in Game 2, the Celtics were crushed, 124-95 , by the Cavaliers on Friday in Boston. The Celtics never led and got down 6-0 early on. It was just the beginning of an offensive attack by the Cavaliers, who shot 59.5 percent from the field and 31-for-34 from the free throw line.
Defensively, the Celtics were ineffective on the glass. They were outrebounded, 45-30 (Antawn Jamison nabbed 12 boards). As a result, they were outscored 50-32 in the paint.
Player of the game: LeBron James led all players with 38 points (14/22 FG, 2/3 3PG, 8/9 FT), eight rebounds, and seven assists. He scored 21 points in the first quarter alone to set the tone early on.
Turning point: With the score Cavs 10, Celtics 8, Kendrick Perkins committed a flagrant foul against James five minutes into the first quarter. The Cavs then went on a 10-0 run (eight points from James) to build a lead they never surrendered.
First Quarter: Cavaliers 36, Celtics 17
James scored 21 points in the first quarter, four more than the entire Celtics team combined, to give the Cavs a 19-point lead. But James wasn’t the only problem for the Celtics early on. The C’s were outrebounded, 15-5. None of the starters grabbed more than one board, while Antawn Jamison nabbed six of his own. Paul Pierce played just nine minutes after shooting 0-for-5 from the field. James scored 14 points with Pierce on the court. Kendrick Perkins was also sidelined early, picking up two fouls including a flagrant committed on a James fast break.
Halftime: Cavaliers 65, Celtics 43
Even though James only scored 7 points in the second half, the Celtics still trailed the Cavs, 65-43. It is three more points than their first quarter deficit. James led all players at the half with 28 points (11/15 FG, 1/1 3PG, 5/5 FT) in 20 minutes. Rondo (6/13 FG) and Garnett (5/7 FG) scored 12 points apiece for the Celtics. After going scoreless in the first quarter, Pierce scored seven in the second. James’ scoring aside, the most glaring stat was on the defensive end. The Cavs had a 25-10 advantage on the boards. James had eight, one more than the Celtics starting five combined.
Third Quarter: Cavaliers 96, Celtics 70
The Cavaliers’ dominance continued in the third quarter, as they took a 96-70 lead going into the final 12 minutes. James scored another seven points to bring his total to 35 points through three quarters. The Celtics got their biggest offensive spark from Nate Robinson, who scored eight points (2/3 FG, 2/2 3PG, 2/2 FT) in three minutes off the bench. Rondo and Garnett still led the C’s (16 points apiece), but both players only scored four in the quarter. The Celtics were outrebounded by 20 boards, 34-14. Antawn Jamison recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The question at the end of the quarter was whether Doc Rivers would turn to the bench or play the starters for a final push.
Fourth Quarter: Cavaliers 124, Celtics 95
The Cavaliers led by over 30 points but it might as well have been a three-point game with all the tension on the court. There were hard fouls, technical fouls, and arguments over fouls that Celtics fans took offense too. Garnett got T’ed up after getting tangled up with Anderson Varejao under the basket following a free throw. Varejao was assessed a loose ball foul. Even though that call prompted boos, the loudest jeers were heard when James argued a hard foul committed by Robinson with the Cavs up 27 points. Both teams turned to their bench late in the fourth as the Cavs easily walked away with the win.
|Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs||05.07.10 at 9:03 pm ET|
The Cavaliers’ dominance continued in the third quarter, as they took a 96-70 lead going into the final 12 minutes.
LeBron James scored another seven points to bring his total to 35 points through three quarters. The Celtics got their biggest offensive spark from Nate Robinson, who scored eight points (2/3 FG, 2/2 3PG, 2/2 FT) in three minutes off the bench. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett still lead the C’s (16 points apiece), but both players only scored four in the quarter.
The Celtics are being outrebounded by 20 boards, 34-14. Antawn Jamison now has a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The question is now whether Doc Rivers will turn to the bench or play the starters for a final push.