In terms of ranking, Sunday night’s matchup with the Boston Celtics meant very little to either team. The Cavs have all but solidified the number one spot in the Eastern Conference and have done nothing but win since losing the services of Shaquille O’Neal, Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mo Williams and Delonte West for spurts throughout the season.
But anytime the Cavaliers are matched up with the Celtics, it turns into a cage fight where technical fouls are issued like parking tickets in the Capital. Coach Mike Brown headed to the locker room early in second half after picking up two technicals for arguing a non-foul call that was blatantly obvious and happened right in the face of one of the officials. Mo earned a T of his own on the play. LeBron James got frustrated and earned another one before goin’ all buck wild on the C’s.
LeKing torched the Celtics for 20 points in the fourth quarter to turn what was a 22-point deficit into a one point lead for the Cavaliers with about two minutes remaining in the fourth. James added nine assists and seven rebounds to what was an incredible stat line but missed all nine of his three point attempts and couldn’t connect on eight of his 22 free throws. What I really enjoyed about his performance was that, other than picking up a technical, LeBron kept his emotions in check and just laughed as Tony Allen and Kevin Garnett ran their mouths. As I said the last time Cleveland played Boston, Kevin Garnett has peeked (Tony Allen will never peek) and the only part of the stat sheet that he lights up is how many f-bombs he can drop in one game. Give me a break! Neither KG nor any of his teammates can handle LeChosen One. And he proved that in the fourth quarter.
Mo Williams had an outstanding first half but didn’t see much time in the second half since he was on the bench when Cleveland made their run. Mo hit all six of his shots and accounted for 17 points and three assists. Antawn Jamison doubled up with 16 points and ten rebounds after spending much of the first half in foul trouble. And JJ Hickson gave a solid 14 point-11 rebound effort.
I know, I’ve been one of very few people that have stuck by Anthony Parker for the entire season. I really think he adds a different dynamic to the Cavalier defense and allows LeBron the chance to rest as he covers the other team’s best player. He was 4-for-5 from the field on Sunday afternoon for 10 points but he really showed me something. With Mike Brown in the locker room for the entire fourth quarter, AP combined with LeBron to take the leadership role in huddles and led the Cavaliers back into the game. It was a good indication of exactly how much Parker means to this team.
All in all, it was a hard fought loss that really had no bearing on anything. Maybe a mental victory for the streaking Celtics? Even though they coughed up a 22 point advantage and escaped with a mere four point win on a night where the league’s MVP was 0-for-9 from the floor and missed eight free throws. Cleveland outrebounded the C’s even without the services of Varejao and O’Neal and were undeniably the tougher team down the stretch. LBJ was getting punched, kicked, smacked and scraped on his way to the hole but continued to finish through the teeth of the Celtics defense. Eat your words Mr. Garnett; your team sucks.
The Cavs will be back in action on Tuesday night to take on the Toronto Raptors. I, for one, cannot wait ’til the playoffs start and I just hope that Cleveland draws the Senior Celtics in round two. Bring it on!
Topics: Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Cleveland Cavaliers, Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Keven Garnet, Lebron James, Mike Brown. Boston Celtics, Mo Williams, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas