Mike Brown said it best after Sunday evening’s matchup with the Boston Celtics when he said, “They were the aggressors.”
After starting the game ahead 7-0, the Cleveland Cavaliers were outscored 31-22 in the first quarter and failed to close the gap heading into the break. A productive third quarter allowed Cleveland the opportunity to head into the fourth quarter down only two points – which sounds great when you consider the lack of urgency the Cavs played with and the simple fact that the best player in the world wears Wine & Gold.
MVPs show up in the fourth quarter of a Game 4 when their team needs them the most. They make big plays to lead their team to victory on the road against a rival opponent. LeBron James did neither one of those things and allowed the Celtics to escape with a 97-87 victory.
And it wasn’t just LeBron. Antawn Jamison missed way too many easy buckets throughout the entire game. Mo Williams couldn’t get it going again. Anthony Parker fumbled way too many passes. Delonte West sported the team’s worst (in)efficiency rating at -18 and Anderson Varejao couldn’t muster up more than three rebounds.
The Good News:
- After three games of below average effort, the Cavs still hold home court advantage and head into Tuesday night’s Game 5 matchup with the series knotted at 2-2.
The Bad News:
- The series is tied at 2-2 and Paul Pierce has yet to have an above average performance.
- Mo Williams has played one productive quarter in 16 quarters this series.
- Though he’s drawing a lot of fouls, Shaquille O’Neal really has not played very well in four games this series. He’s not knocking down shots (though he’s making foul shots) and he’s picking way too many cheap fouls – I want to see him knock somebody down like did to Rondo in Game 1.
All in all, it wasn’t a great performance by any stretch of the word by the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron let the Celtics set the tone early and they capitalized on it. They’ll be back in Cleveland for Tuesday night’s Game 5 matchup – hopefully with a little more energy than they showed off tonight.