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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why Even Bother Showing Up?

Last night's 88-77 win by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Boston Celtics was the type of depressing outcome that tears a fan up.

The Eastern Conference semifinal series is now tied at two and bigger picture, which will happen first: a Celtics win on the road (0-5) or loss at home (6-0)? The writing on the wall is loud and clear, they're not going anywhere playing like this. You can only take so many seven-game sets before eventually losing. The Pistons are up 3-1 on the Magic and look poised to get to the Eastern Conference finals once again. The Celtics, not so much.

Another aspect that made this loss so frustrating was that unlike Saturday, it was right there for the C's in the fourth quarter but they predictably disappeared (with a playoff-low 12 point frame).

LeBron James still hasn't had a big game yet his team has won two out of four. King James had a game-high 21 points, 13 assists, six boards, three steals and two blocks. And he did a nice job of calming his mom Gloria down (she must not have gotten what she wanted for Mother's Day) after she got in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett's face after they fouled her son hard. Really.

Once again, the Cavs got plenty of scoring from a bunch of average players: 14 from Wally Szczerbiak, 14 (6 boards, 4 assists) from Daniel Gibson and 12 (6 boards) from bozo/flop artist/Sideshow Bob wannabe Anderson Varejao.

Kevin Garnett had 15 points, 10 boards and four assists but was held to two points and two rebounds in the second half. How is that possible? Ray Allen (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (15 points, 4 assists) put up decent numbers but it didn't matter since no one could put the ball in the ocean in the fourth. Paul Pierce managed 13 points and P.J. Brown had eight points, six rebounds and two blocks off the bench.

It was tight until the very end. The Cavs were up two (23-21) after one and at the half (45-43). Cleveland had one more in the third (23-22) and then were able to hit a few more shots than Boston in the fourth (20-12). That was the ironic part; Boston played fine defense since Cleveland bricked plenty of shots. The difference was when the Cavs needed a hoop, LeBron (huge 3 and a sick dunk over KG) and Gibson (3-pointer) provided it down the stretch.

Cleveland shot 45.5% from the floor to Boston's 38.6%. The C's were a woeful 3 of 14 from three-point land. Boston got to the line more (20-26) to Cleveland's 12-18 which was a good sign but the Cavs (cough LeBron) had eight more assists (24-18).

Game 5 is tomorrow night back at the Garden and suffice it to say, it's a must-win. The C's can't go back to Cleveland down 3-2.

Many are bashing Doc Rivers for his questionable rotations and the minutes he gives players but right now I place this debacle on the players. They are a better team than Cleveland and it's about time they started playing like it before it's too late.