After a very, very poor performance in Game 2 of this series, I expected the Cavaliers to come out with something to prove on Friday night. But I don’t think anybody expected the stoot-slappin’ the Cavs handed to the Senior Celtics in Game 3.
Cleveland led by double digits for all but the first six minutes on their way to a 124-95 beat down in Beantown.
LeBron James, who has been hindered by elbow problems for much of the series, showed no signs of tenderness as he came out looking to attack right from the opening tip. James canned 28 first half points and had his team ahead by 22 at the break. The Chosen One finished an outstanding, MVP-type performance with 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists on a very efficient 14-of-22 from the field.
Though it may have seemed like it, LeKing didn’t do it all on his own. Five other Cavaliers posted double figures in the scoring column to lift the Cavs to their highest scoring playoff performance ever. Antawn Jamison came up with a huge 20 point-12 rebound performance and played much better defense against Kevin Garnett in this one. Delonte West came off the bench to net 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with three rebounds and three assists in more than 29 minutes of work. Mo Williams spent much of the night acting as a true point guard and distributing the basketball while setting up the offense. Williams managed a steady 12 points and seven assists in a rather quiet (but efficient) effort. And Anthony Parker was perfect from the floor, including 3-of-3 from downtown, in an 11 point performance while playing outstanding defense on Rajon Rondo right from the tip. Rounding up the Cavaliers in scoring figures, Shaquille O’Neal finished the night with 12 points and nine rebounds – and that was after missing the rim by a country mile on his first shot attempt.
Overall, it was certainly a much better all around effort by each and every member of the Cavalier rotation. All eleven guys showed up to play on Friday night and proved that, when they attack from the start, they are the team to beat in the NBA this season.
Cleveland also shook off their 2010 pain-in-the-tukus as they knocked down 31-of-34 attempts from the charity stripe for a 91% effort – even the Big Fella was 2-for-2. And the good guys crashed the boards hard to win the rebounding fight by a margin of 45-30.
Now that we’ve seen what they are capable of, there’s no turning back. If Cleveland can bring that same intensity to the floor night in and night out, they will be hoisting that trophy in a few weeks. Mark my words.
One last thing: For those of us that had some harsh things to say about LeBron, Mike Brown and the Cleveland Cavaliers after Game 2, can we please get back to sticking by our team. Remember…
Play Together – Band Together – Win Together
And that applies to us, as fans, too.
Tags: Anderson Varejao Antawn Jamison Anthony Parker Boston Cavaliers Cavs Celtics Cleveland Cleveland Cavaliers Delonte West Game 3 KJG Lebron Lebron James Mike Brown Mo Williams MVP NBA Playoffs Shaq Shaquille O'neal Witness