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Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Fugly but still a win
If game 1 was any indication, this Eastern Conference semifinal between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers is going to be low-scoring and ugly.
The C's have to be happy with the result though as they won 76-72 at the Garden.
I don't know which was more surprising: Paul Pierce (2 for 14) and Ray Allen (0 for 4) combining for four points or LeBron James shooting 2 of 18 from the floor?
The King still almost had a triple-double (12 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) but his 10 turnovers were killer in such a tight affair.
Kevin Garnett (28 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals), Rajon Rondo (15 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) and Sam Cassell (13 points) were the offense for the Celts. Kendrick Perkins had seven points and 12 rebounds while James Posey (who I called the Troy Brown of the Celtics today) had eight points off the bench.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (22 points, 12 boards) and Wally Szczerbiak (13 points) were the only other Cavs in double figures.
Boston led 25-15 after the first quarter but the lead shrunk to four (41-37) at the half.
The C's were up one (53-52) going into the fourth. It was great to see KG take over down the stretch and hit a couple key hoops. Uncharacteristically, LeBron missed some great looks as multiple layups rimmed out. Cassell pulled down a key rebound and was fouled by big Z.
Between game 1 or 2, Cleveland seemed most likely to steal game 1 since the Celts had just wrapped up the series with the Hawks. It's hard to predict what will happen in game 2 after such a bizarre game 1 but two things are certain: LeBron won't play that badly again and the same can be said for Allen and Pierce on the same night.
The difference between Boston and any other team left in the playoffs is their commitment and execution on defense. They're now 5-0 at home, it's going to be hard for anybody to knock them off when they play that type of D.
Cleveland shot 30.7% while Boston shot 42.6. Game 2 is tomorrow night back at the Garden.