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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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers,
Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs 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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers,
First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs 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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers,
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
James took lessons learned from battles with Pierce 04.04.10 at 11:58 pm ET
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The matchup between Paul Pierce and LeBron James is one of the most competitive battles in the NBA. But before James was dominating the scoreboard, he was trying to learn from his veteran counterpart.

“When I first came into the league, he was a seasoned vet and I was a rookie just trying to learn the curve and things like that,” James said prior to the Celtics 117-113 win over the Cavaliers. “Over the years, he’€™s still been an All-Star, he’€™s still been competitive. I’€™m just trying to develop my game to be one of the best three’€™s (small forwards) in the league, to be on Paul Pierce’€™s level and all these other guys’€˜ level.”

On Sunday, James outscored Pierce, 42-16 (20 of his points came in the fourth quarter alone). It’s a far cry from their first regular-season matchup seven years ago. On Nov. 13, 2003, James ‘€” as a rookie ‘€” scored 10 points in a 91-82 loss to the Celtics. In that one, Pierce, who was entering his sixth season, led the C’s with 19 points.

‘€œYou learn, the game itself teaches you game after game after game,” James said. ‘€œBut you learn when you go against the best, you see why they are considered the best at that time or still now because of the work they put into it. They never took a night off.’€

James is averaging 29.9 points this season (30.6 in his last five contests) and has scored more than 20 points in all but one game since the All-Star Break. He wrapped up his regular season matchup with the Celtics averaging 36.5 points in four games.

‘€œI’€™ve been able to be recognized as one of the best three’€™s that we have in this league,” James added, “So it’€™s always fun to go against the best guys in the league, and Paul continues to be that since I was a rookie.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, Paul Pierce
First half: Celtics – Cavs at 2:10 pm ET
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The Celtics jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first two minutes in never trailed in the first quarter. It was Ray Allen — not LeBron James — who led all players with 10 points. James and Mo Williams were right behind him with eight points apiece for the Cavs. Both teams shot 50 percent from the field in the first quarter.

Doc Rivers turned to his bench when Rajon Rondo picked up two early fouls. First one in: Tony Allen, who is averaging 9.25 points and 3.5 rebounds in the last four games. Interesting move as this left the unit without a true point guard. That didn’t halt the Celtics, though, as they outscored the Cavs, 33-24, after the first 12 minutes.

The Celtics continued to build their lead in the second quarter. They were up, 50-40, with 3:23 left before back-to-back fouls on Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett allowed the Cavs to chip away at the deficit. They went on a 7-2 run to get back within five. But the Celtics answered with a 5-0 run of their own, propelled by Garnett and Paul Pierce. Rondo drained a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Celtics a 64-49 halftime lead.

Williams leads all players with 15 points. James has 10. Rondo and Ray Allen scored 12 each. The Celtics are 37-17 when leading or tied at the half.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers,
Fast Break: Celtics vs. Cavaliers 03.14.10 at 5:30 pm ET
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Winning in Cleveland was important to the Celtics, but Doc Rivers knew beating the Celtics at home would be significant to the Cavaliers, too. On Sunday, the Cavs defended their homecourt (where they are now 29-4) and defeated the Celtics, 104-93.

LeBron James scored just two field goals in the first quarter and had six points in the entire first half, but finished with a game-high 30 points.

The Big Three tried to carry the Celtics offensively — Ray Allen led with 20 points; Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce followed with 18 each. Rajon Rondo led the C’s with eight boards, but the team was outrebounded 51-43.

Turning Point: The Celtics had an opportunity to reclaim control of this game in the third quarter. Allen and Pierce tied the game at 68 apiece with back-to-back 3-pointers. But Garnett and Rondo committed a pair of turnovers in 24 seconds and the Cavs went on an 8-0 run.

Player of the Game: After Saturday’€™s practice, Kendrick Perkins said Anderson Varejao was an instigator on the court, and he proved to be on Sunday. Varejao scored 15 points and grabbed 6 rebounds off the bench in the first half alone. His tough play early on set the tone for the Cavaliers.

– Garnett and Glen Davis were both involved in rough play during the game. Early in the first, Garnett and J.J. Hickson were called for technical fouls after exchanging words under the basket. In the third, Garnett went for the ball and ended up hitting James in the face. James fell to the ground and had to go to the bench during a subsequent timeout. As for Davis, he practically leapt at Antawn Jamison and knocked him to the floor while attempting a 3-pointer.

– One of the reasons why the Celtics were able to stay in the game was because of free throw shooting. They shot 23-for-30 from the line while the Cavs were 31-for-48.

– The Celtics shot 0-for-6 from 3-point range in the first half, but went 6-for-11 in the second. Allen and Pierce hit three apiece.

– Former Celtic Leon Powe scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in eight minutes for the Cavs.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers,
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