After watching LeBron James tear apart the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, one might have begun to wonder Is this guy human? Well, yeah, he is. He had what some would call an “off-night” as he committed a couple careless turnovers, came out with a lackluster effort in the first quarter and missed several shot attempts in the painted area. But here’s the non-human part to that claim: The guy still torched the Celtics for 35 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a 12-for-24 shooting performance. Wow.
But it wasn’t LeBron who held the team together in the third quarter; that throne belonged to Mo Williams on Saturday evening. After a sluggish first half consisting of unsuccessfully chasing Rajon Rondo around, Mo came out scorching hot in the second half, kicked the Swag-o-Meter up to about a 4.5 and netted 14 points in a third frame that was highlighted by his first career dunk – which happened to be quite an impressive throw down in Paul Pierce’s grill.
Antawn Jamison didn’t light up the scoreboard but he was efficient, although he struggled to contain Kevin Garnett in the first half of play. Jamison notched an efficient seven point-nine rebound effort in the 101-93 victory. And Shaquille O’Neal turned it on in the fourth quarter on his way to a 11 point performance.
Delonte West and Anderson Varejao led the way off the bench as the two combined for 12 points and seven rebounds. West was huge in the second half and almost single handedly kept the game from getting out of hand. And JJ Hickson, who saw very limited playing time in the first series, was 5-of-7 from the floor for 11 points in just 12 minutes of playing time. I’m still not ready to completely rely on JJ for more than 10-12 minutes a game – contrary to Charles Barkley’s opinion.
All in all, it was a good effort from the Cavaliers. Not great. But good. Had it not been for a complete lack of focus and energy in the first 24 minutes, the game would have been much more one-sided. I just hope they carry that second half intensity over to Game 2 on Monday night and stoot-slap the Senior Celtics.