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Varejao day to day with back spasms 05.04.10 at 7:54 pm ET
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Celtics antagonist Anderson Varejao left Monday’s Game 2 with back spasms and didn’t return to the game. He was examined at the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health on Tuesday by Cavs Physician Dr. Richard Parker, who confirmed the diagnosis after an MRI and X-Ray were negative.

The team said he is receiving treatment and is currently listed as day-to-day.

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Fast Break: Celtics – Cavs 05.03.10 at 11:02 pm ET
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The Celtics bounced back from their Game 1 loss with a 104-86 victory over the Cavs in Game 2 in Cleveland. They will head back to Boston on Friday for Game 3 with the series split, 1-1.

LeBron James gave credit to his teammates when he was awarded the MVP trophy before the game, but it was the Celtics that won with a total team effort. All of the starters scored in double-digits, Rajon Rondo dished 19 assists, and Rasheed Wallace provided a critical spark off the bench with 17 points in just 18 minutes.

On the defensive end, the Celtics held James to 24 points (13 through three quarters). The C’s also outrebounded the Cavs, 43-29.

First Quarter: Celtics 26 – Cavaliers 22

First quarter leading scorers
Celtics: Rajon Rondo – 6 points (2-2 FG, 1-1 3PG)
Cavs: Antawn Jamison – 6 points (3-5 FG), Anthony Parker – 6 points (2-4 FG, 2-2 3PG)

First quarter key stats
Field goal percentage: Celtics 66.7% – Cavaliers 37.5%
Turnovers: Celtics 7 – Cavaliers 3

Doc River said Rasheed Wallace had to play better. It took just a few seconds to show he had listened. Wallace replaced Kendrick Perkins in the first quarter and hit his first basket (a jumper) less than a minute later. He posted 5 points and 1 rebound in two minutes. The Celtics were successful in containing LeBron James (3 points, 1-4 FG), but the team committed seven turnovers in the quarter, giving up some of their defensive edge. Paul Pierce picked up two fouls in 10 seconds – one trying to stop James at the basket, the other an offensive call against Anthony Parker. Rajon Rondo quieted the Cavs crowd with a 3-pointer as time ran down to push the C’€™s lead up to four.

Second Quarter: Celtics 52 – Cavaliers 48

First half leading scorers
Celtics: Rasheed Wallace – 13 points (5-5 FG, 3-3 3PG)
Cavs: Antawn Jamison – 11 points (4-6 FG, 1-2 3PG, 2-4 FT)

First half key stats
Turnovers: Celtics 10 – Cavaliers 7
Fouls: Celtics 16 – Cavaliers 4

Wallace carried his momentum into the second quarter, scoring five minutes in the first four minutes. Even though the C’€™s opened the quarter on a 9-0 run to push their lead up to 35-22, the Cavs responded with a 10-3 stretch of their own to gain momentum. In spite of only eight points from James, the combination of Celtics turnovers and fouls allowed the Cavs to make their way back into the game. The Celtics committed 16 first half fouls, as well as 10 turnovers. Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Tony Allen had three fouls at halftime.

Third Quarter: Celtics 83 – Cavaliers 60

Leading scorers through three quarters
Celtics: Ray Allen – 20 points (7-11 FG, 3-5 3PG, 3-4 FT)
Cavs: Antawn Jamison – 13 points (5-8 FG), 1-2 3PG, 2-4 FT)

Key stats through three quarters
Turnovers: Celtics 14 – Cavaliers 12
Fouls: Celtics 20 – Cavaliers 10

After the Celtics got outscored, 36-24, in the third quarter of Game 1, they responded in Game 2 with a third quarter push of their own. The C’€™s outscored the Cavs 31-12, to take a 23-point lead. Records were reached and tempers flared during the stretch. Rondo tied Bob Cousy‘€™s franchise mark with 19 assists in a postseason game. Kendrick Perkins and Anderson Varejao were issued double technicals when things got heated following the whistle. Minutes later, Varejao was called for a technical as Ray Allen drove to the basket. The Celtics committed just four fouls in the quarter, compared to 16 in the first half.

Final Score: Celtics 104 – Cavs 86

Leading scorers
Celtics: Ray Allen – 22 points (8-15 FG, 3-7 3PG, 3-4 FT)
Cavs: LeBron James – 24 points (7-15 FG, 0-4 3PG, 10-15 FT)

Key stats
Assists: Celtics 30 – Cavs 17 (Rondo, 19)
Fouls: Celtics 31 – Cavs 16

The Cavs diminished a 25-point lead with a 15-0 run late in the fourth quarter and got within nine points. The C’s went scoreless for over five minutes before Pierce snapped the skid. Doc Rivers called a timeout to group his team, which responded with an 11-5 run to end the game. Even though the Celtics were outscored, 26-21, in the final 12 minutes, they held on for an 18-point win. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 22 points, and it was Wallace who provided a huge spark with 17 points off the bench.

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Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs 05.03.10 at 10:12 pm ET
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End of third quarter: Celtics 83 – Cavaliers 60

Leading scorers through three quarters
Celtics: Ray Allen – 20 points (7-11 FG, 3-5 3PG, 3-4 FT)
Cavs: Antawn Jamison – 13 points (5-8 FG), 1-2 3PG, 2-4 FT)

Key stats through three quarters
Turnovers: Celtics 14 – Cavaliers 12
Fouls: Celtics 20 – Cavaliers 10

After the Celtics got outscored, 36-24, in the third quarter of Game 1, they responded in Game 2 with a third quarter push of their own. The C’s outscored the Cavs 31-12, to take a 23-point lead. Records were reached and tempers flared during the stretch. Rajon Rondo tied Bob Cousy’s franchise mark with 19 assists in a postseason game. Kendrick Perkins and Anderson Varejao were issued double technicals when things got heated following the whistle. Minutes later, Varejao was called for a technical as Ray Allen drove to the basket. The Celtics committed just four fouls in the quarter, compared to 16 in the first half.

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Halftime Wrap: Celtics – Cavs 05.03.10 at 9:24 pm ET
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Halftime: Celtics 52 – Cavaliers 48

First half leading scorers
Celtics: Rasheed Wallace – 13 points (5-5 FG, 3-3 3PG)
Cavs: Antawn Jamison – 11 points (4-6 FG, 1-2 3PG, 2-4 FT)

First half key stats
Field goal percentage: Celtics 51.2% – Cavaliers 42.1%
Turnovers: Celtics 10 – Cavaliers 7
Fouls: Celtics 16 – Cavaliers 4

Rasheed Wallace carried his momentum into the second quarter, scoring five minutes in the first four minutes. Even though the C’s opened the quarter on a 9-0 run to push their lead up to 35-22, the Cavs responded with a 10-3 stretch of their own to gain momentum. In spite of only 8 points from LeBron James, the combination of Celtics turnovers and fouls has allowed the Cavs to make their way back into the game. The Celtics committed 16 first half fouls, as well as 10 turnovers. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Tony Allen have three fouls.

First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs 05.03.10 at 8:45 pm ET
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First quarter: Celtics 26 – Cavaliers 22

Leading scorers
Celtics: Rajon Rondo – 6 points (2-2 FG, 1-1 3PG)
Cavs: Antawn Jamison – 6 points (3-5 FG), Anthony Parker – 6 points (2-4 FG, 2-2 3PG)

Key stats
Field goal percentage: Celtics 66.7% – Cavaliers 37.5%
Turnovers: Celtics 7 – Cavaliers 3
Fouls: Celtics 6 – Cavaliers 4

Doc River said Rasheed Wallace had to play better. So far, he’s listened. Wallace replaced Kendrick Perkins in the first quarter and hit his first basket (a jumper) less than a minute later. He posted 5 points and 1 rebound in two minutes.

The Celtics were successful in containing LeBron James (3 points, 1-4 FG), but the team committed seven turnovers in the quarter, giving up some of their defensive edge.

Paul Pierce picked up two fouls in 10 seconds – one trying to stop James at the basket, the other an offensive call against Anthony Parker.

Rajon Rondo quieted the Cavs crowd with a 3-pointer as time ran down to push the C’s lead up to four.

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Clarifying the calls for clarification 05.03.10 at 7:49 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Cavs coach Mike Brown raised a few eyebrows when he suggested that the foul Shaquille O’Neal put on Rajon Rondo late in the game was actually not a foul, and that he asked for clarification from the league. It turns out that Brown was actually referring to a different Shaq foul on Rondo from the second quarter.

The act of asking the league to clarify calls in a specific game is a time-honored ritual for coaches during playoff series.Doc Rivers said he asked the league about four different calls. “I’m scared to tell you which ones because I may get fined for it,” Rivers said before Game 2. “They said I was right.”

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Expect more physical play in Game 2 05.03.10 at 1:40 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — There has been a lot made of the hard foul that Shaquille O’Neal administered to Rajon Rondo late in Game 1 that sent Rondo careening to the floor. One overheated Cleveland media member asked Cavs coach Mike Brown if it was the hardest playoff foul he’s ever seen.

Obviously it wasn’t, but Brown raised some eyebrows when he said he asked the NBA for clarification over whether it actually was even a foul. Brown’s contention is that Rondo initiated the contact.

That’s standard operating procedure during playoff series when teams will send a handful of plays to the league to ask for clarification. The real reason is to send a subtle message about calls that were, or were not made, during the course of a game to set the tone for the next one.

The referees for Game 2 are Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Eddie Malloy. They should expect to see a lot of contact. For the record, the Celtics had no problems with the foul that O’Neal gave to Rondo.

“He’€™s just got to keep going in there,” Doc Rivers said. “Shaq’€™s doing what should do. I didn’€™t think what Shaq did was dirty or anything else. It was just a hard playoff foul. I actually applaud it. We need more of that. Both ways.”

Cavs guard Mo Williams lauded O’Neal for his foul both after Game 1 and again Monday morning as the team went through their shootaround.

“It’s a great asset to have, knowing that he’s going to give hard fouls,” Williams said. “Teams know that. They know that once they go in there they’re going to get hit, so brace yourself.”

Rondo can expect to get a huge amount of attention from the Cavs defense tonight. He saw Williams, Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon at times in Game 1. The Celtics expected as much and while Brown said he would probably start Game 2 the same way — with Williams on Rondo — he won’t hesitate to go back to Parker, who is being hailed around Ohio as a Rondo stopper. A notion the Celtics don’t agree with.

“Honestly, it didn’€™t really affect us much,” Rivers said. “I thought Rondo’€™s fourth foul affected Rondo far more than Parker guarding Rondo. I think Rondo likes that matchup in a lot of ways. But that’€™s what you do. That’€™s what teams do. That’€™s what I would do. It’€™s always better to put a longer guy on a quicker guy. We actually thought it would be LeBron more.”

One thing is certain. If the Celtics are going to come back to Boston with a split, they will have to be the aggressors. Both in taking the ball to the basket and in defending the rim.

“We do have to be more physical,” Kendrick Perkins said. “We have to take it to them tonight. We have to be the more physical team. Last game they were, so tonight we just got to go out there and do what we got to do to get the win.”

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