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Resolve: Celtics 97, Cavaliers 87

 

ESPN Fear the SwordCavs the Blog

The word “Resolve” really does say it all.  The Celtics got annihilated in their own building on Friday night only to come back and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers handily.  “Handily” may have not be entirely accurate as this game was not without it’s own adversity for the Celtics.  Paul Pierce was another near-no show today.  It was not until the fourth quarter when Pierce decided to check-in, and he did in a big way with probably the single-most important play of the game.  Naturally, this play came off one of Rajon Rondo’s 13 dimes (Yeah, 13.  We’ll get to that later.) as Pierce executed a textbook backdoor cut only to finish hard with a two handed jam on LeBron James.  Pierce continued on with making his presence known by stealing a bad pass by Mo Williams on the very next play.  This sequence was the catalyst for the C’s to put this Cavalier team to bed and send this series back to Cleveland with a two-all tie, as well as possessing all the momentum. We have much to get to, so let’s get to it:

  • Rajon Rondo had a historic performance, posting a Magic Johnson-like triple-double with 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists.  Unbelievable- especially for a guy that can’t shoot from the outside right? Wrong.  Rondo made 3 of 7 shots from outside the painted area with one being an end-of-the-shot-clock three point attempt.  Don’t believe me, check out the shot chart:While Rondo was able to hit from the outside effectively this afternoon, his success getting to the bucket may be even more surprising given the Cav’s front court depth. The Celtics were at their best this afternoon with Rondo pushing the tempo, forcing the issue in the lane, and making adept passes for easy buckets.  Rondo almost did all he could to undo all the good work he did by trying to get too fancy in the fourth quarter.  You could really tell how badly Rondo wanted to completely destroy this Cavalier team with back-to-back touchdown pass attempts.  Luckily, tightend Glen Davis made an amazing behind his head catch from an under-thrown Rondo pass.  Davis collected the ball and finished strong to seal the momentum in the Celtics’ favor.
  • One of Rondo’s favorite targets today was Tony Allen.  When Ray Allen cannot get open and Paul Pierce is lost somewhere worrying about the Bruins Game 5, Rondo deferred to…Tony Allen?  Well, sort of.  TA deferred to himself by fiending off his own energy on the defensive end.  While Paul Pierce expends all his energy on the defensive end he cannot push the ball when he forces a TO, TA seems to only get better.  Tony used this propulsion and some timely help from Rondo to contribute 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.  This type of production, however, was the not the biggest asset TA brought to the table today.  TA was able to nearly completely stifle James with his quickness on the defensive end.  TA’s contribution was encapsulated by two palindromic plays- both involving Rondo.  On one, Rondo pushed the ball up the floor, made James commit to jumping on the chase down block attempt, and made an amazing behind the back pass to a streaking Tony Allen.  A little while later, Tony returned the favor by making a great pass to Rondo for an easy layup that left James’ head spinning.
  • Speaking of James, the best player on the planet and the reigning MVP put up a pedestrian 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting.  This can be attributed to two parts Celtics’ team defense and one part the two-headed Allen monster on the defensive end.  Both TA and Ray-A really hampered LeBron by challenging his quickness.  It seems as if the Celtics are taking stabs in the dark on how to play LeBron one-on-one.  In Games 1 and 2, they tried to size him up by playing Pierce and a little bit of Daniels on Pierce.  In Games 3 and 4, the Celtics put quick, annoying players on James to force him farther off the three point line.  Both styles have proved effective and awful.  So what gives?  Team defense.  When the Celtics are cutting off James’ ability to penetrate, they also force him to jump to pass the ball.  This has been James’ under-the-radar Achilles heel.  The Cavaliers love to dribble-drive but almost exclusively make a jump stop in order to dish out to open men.  the Celtics play such good team defense that this has really presented a problem for the Cavaliers.
  • On paper, the bench play was the comparative difference in this game.  Usually reliable Delonte West could not find his game going 0-for-7 from the field.  Conversely, usually unreliable Tony Allen was electrifying.  Obviously, this kind of production or lack there of cannot be counted on for any stretch of time.  Rasheed Wallace, while a statistical no-show, he contributed four hard fouls that made the Cavs big men become slightly hesitant going to the basket.  Glen Davis also contributed 20 energy-filled minutes that include stellar defense on Shaquille O’Neal and a loose-ball snag for the ages.
  • Kevin Garnett had another solid game in this series with 18 and 6.  This type of consistency is much-welcomed considering his reputation of being a no-show in the earlier rounds.
  • Dominate the glass and limit the turnovers and the Celtics win.  It really could be that simple.  The Celtics out-rebounded the Cavaliers 47 to 33 on the glass and had 5 less turnovers (12-to-17).  These are not your regular season numbers and these are not your regular season Celtics.

That’s it for now, more later.  Just think C’s fans.  Pierce has to wake up one of these games.  Right?  Enjoy this one.

  • urbeltic

    It aint the big three anymore, its the Big One and some old guys.

  • JP

    Pierce’s play was great. Lets hope he builds on that.

  • JP

    and by that I mean his 1 play, not as a while, he did nothing for 3 quarters except foul

  • I love Green

    Its Rondo and his minions. He says “go there!” gives them the ball and they get an easy bucket. “My turn this possession!” Gets an easy drive to the hoop, and lays it in. He’s the Celtics MVP

  • aguacatero

    Question… is the officiating really favoring LBJ by calling questionable fouls on the celts, or does it just feel that way to a biased observer like myself?

  • Chris O.

    NO the officiating really really really favors LBJ, like when Perk got called for a foul because LeBron missed a rebound when Perk didn’t touch him. One of the reasons Pierce is struggling so mightily I am sure hs to do with the fact LBJ gets such favor. When Pierce has driven in and gotten punched (not really) by LeBron no call usually occurs.

  • Bert

    I feel like Rondo’s nutshot on Varejao is worth mentioning.

  • Devon

    @ Bert I want a poster of that moment.

  • Conall Mac Michael

    I’m just really happy with this game. Brilliant. nothing else to say about it really.

  • complexity

    Superstars get calls, that’s a reality. Do you think the NBA wants to see Kevin Durant’s team win the playoffs? Obviously not. Yet he was going to the line more than just about anyone. When we won in 2008, I’m sure blogs just like this one, had people commenting just like us, about how horrible the refs were. I have no problem with taking out your grievances on the officials, but it gets to a point where it really takes away the enjoyment out of the game, if you’re only looking at it from that perspective.

  • Chris O.

    @complexity – I don’t only look at it from that perspective its just that when it is utterly ridiculous you can’t miss it. BTW the NBA does want a Kevin Durant team to win in the playoffs…just not this year. The NBA always wants Superstars to win. This year it wants LBJ vs. Kobe…but any team can win even a horribly officiated game.

  • Ray Leighton

    Awesome game. Just when I thought that Rajon couldn’t destroy the Cavs anymore than he already has, he got better at it. Some of the passes were amazing. The behind the back that put Lebron James in the air made me laugh out loud.

    @Brendan — Normally reliable Delonte West and normally unreliable TA? Come on, Brendan, not this season — Delonte has been reliably mediocre and TA has been consistently better this year.

    Speaking of which — if you expand their respective stats out to 48 minutes, TA actually outplayed Lebron this game.

    @Cptn Bubbles — just want to give him credit for suggesting that Rondo needed to crash the boards more — Cleveland never could block him out, even though he was killing them on the boards.

    Lastly, as great as Rondo was, I just want to point out the really decisive interval of the game — the Celtics held Cleveland scoreless for the first 4:30 of the fourth quarter. During that interval, Cleveland had nine possessions, which were:

    Three missed three-pointers
    Four turnovers
    Two layups blocked.

    Cleveland never got a decent shot during that interval that we didn’t make them eat. And…. Sheed, the guy we all love to rag on (myself included) had two blocks and a steal during that interval. Great defense, largely by Rajon, TA, and the second unit.

  • What More Can I Say?

    @Brendan — KG has a reputation of being a no-show in the earlier rounds?!?!? I have never ever heard that. 4th quarter? Yes. Earlier rounds? Are you referring to a Minnesota rep?

    Rondo is the MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 18 rebounds? That is just SICK!

  • joe

    people please be quiet about the officiating. the league wanted kobe v. LBJ last year and what happened? Do you think the league wanted the Spurs to win all those titles? Do you think the L wanted Detroit to beat LA in ’04? Officiating is not as big of a problem as people make it seem.

  • Jrmz

    Its Lebron and company…its Wade and company…is it too soon to be saying Rondo and company?

  • urbeltic

    Charles Barkley, AKA Mayor Menino of the NBA, said in his typical inaudible way that he will bet “any amount of money” that the C’s lose. Bummer, after taking two from the Cavs I thought we had chance…

  • Rondo

    @Jrmz
    it’s too early, kg has been showing up more, as well as ray; i’m a little worried about paul though

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Enough with the officiating. I could get you 10 examples of bumps that could have been called fouls on the C’s that were not called.

    The Varejao nut shot—and his lack of reaction—brings up a serious question: Is it possible Varejao lacks private parts of any kind? He was unfazed by the Rondo save and Ray’s shot last year….

  • Matt
  • DeVelaine

    I’m not sure Rondo could have gotten more oomph on that throw if he was actually trying to kill Varejao.

  • JP

    @Zach

    That is so true! I am glad that you brought that up.

    @Jrmz

    Not yet I don’t think, you still have 3 hall of famers on the team. And Rondo is perfect on this team, would he be as good on another team? Not so sure. Doc and Rondo have a great relationship I think, due to their trust. Would other coaches have given him that same trust? Rondo is great, and he is perfect for the Celtics, just not sure if he’d fair as well on other teams.

  • I love Green

    @Zach- Pretty sure it hit him in the thigh not the nuts

  • Jim Weeks

    @Zach – Agreed on the obsession with the foul calls. For example in the 4th the C’s went up 7 when Rondo grabbed a board and hit a shot in the lane. In the process KG clearly shoved Anthony Parker with his left hand. Whether Parker had to fall to the ground or not is debatable, although he did appear to be off balance prior to the push. Regardless an obvious foul was not called and a big basket stood.

  • Rich

    Cmon people, if you just blame the refs for everything, it makes it easy to not blame your own team for anything.

    Personally, I’m going to blame the refs tonight as to why the Cavs lost. Totally going to ignore LeBron’s half-hearted effort and Delonte being a no-show. Nope, nothing to do with it. ALL the officials.

  • Sam

    I thought the KG loose ball foul was awful.

  • hank

    The best play was when lebron was called for traveling then it was overturned by the ref and a foul was called. The other play was when garnett was posting varejao jumps from behind pushes garnett and the ball loose. the ball goes out of bounds and they call a loose ball foul on garnett. The celts can’t complain cuz they will get fined but we certainly can. The league wants lebron in the finals the celts have to beat the cavs handily as brendan jackson article states because the refs are gonna make it as difficult as possible.If the celts don’t bring their A game its gonna be game 3 all over again.

  • Rich

    See, just follow the above script. Put your teams biased glasses on, and only see what you want.

    Just let me give you guys an example. There was quite a bit of complaining in Celtic nation about the Perkins flagrant. That led to a clear example of the league protecting LeBron. Where was your outcry over the Varejao flagrant the game before? He bodied the guy and didn’t even bring his hands down. But clearly, that must be a flagrant because all calls made are out to only hurt the celtics, right?

  • RBD

    Good God Celtics fans.

    STOP WHINING ABOUT THE REFS.

    It’s pathetic.

  • RBD

    @Rich

    Logic won’t help you here.

  • pam

    great great game by rondo. sorry to be a slight pessimist but anyone else slightly worried by his minutes going into game 5? i think he had 47 today and game 5 is day after tomm in cleveland (traveling day).
    heard james is considering guarding rondo in game 5. is this when pierce steps up? lets hope.

  • RBD

    @Pam

    You’re right. Rondo could be short of gas. I assume they’ll skip practice tomorrow for a travel day and just watch film. I hope so, at least.

  • aguacatero

    Thanks for the answer about the foul calls. It was a real question… I know I’m biased, but I wanted to know if the officiating was, too (albeit in the other direction). Thanks for your input.

  • DRJ1

    I watched the 4th quarter late, so I did a lot of analysis, lots of slow-mo, rewinding, etc.

    The refs WERE biased in the first half of the 4th quarter — but mostly IN FAVOR OF THE CELTICS. It got really ridiculous there for a while — the Cs were HAMMERING THE CAVS, just like the Cavs did it to Boston in Game 3 — and there were no calls. That’s the reality of what actually happened.

    The KG loose ball foul — was based on the KG hooking his left arm around the Cav behind him BEFORE the play with Varejao unfolded (where he went out of bounds, etc.). The ref blew it late, but that seemed to be the reason why — hooks are generally automatic calls.

    The foul on Perk — he pushed TWO guys out of his way (Jamison and Lebron), not very hard, but he did do it.

    Perk’s moving pick — was as close to total BS as there was in Q4, but understandable considering the bodies on the floor that resulted from it. (And btw, that pick was pointless.)

    I did not see ONE really clear example of a true phantom foul. This was NOTHING like Game 3.

    On balance, the game was very badly officiated, with both teams getting screwed multiple times, in roughly equal doses.

    No, I’m not kidding.

  • DRJ1

    Fyi– the ball Rondo threw hard at Varejao did not hit his testicles… luckily for him (assuming he has them… we can’t be sure about that). It hit his pubic bone, which is pretty tough and not a very sensitive area. It hurts a bit, but nothing like what would have happened 3 inches lower.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    You’re right, DRJ1. Rondo must improve his aim next time.

  • Jay P

    I think Rasheed’s performance tonight was excellent, and no one is going to mention it because it didn’t show up the stat sheet.

    Most of his shots (there weren’t many) looked good though, with the exception of one really bad 3-pt. He had a few turnarounds that rimmed out I was convinced were dead on.

    But his effort really impressed me, you really saw him out there fighting, he was rotating well, and got a nice block in the 4th.

    So Brendan I really want to know what TA has to do for you to no longer use the line “usually unreliable Tony Allen” how is he usually unreliable? This is now the second game of the post-season that you could argue the C’s could not have won without him, and he’s given solid performances all around. Can we finally move Tonly out of the “usually unreliable” tag and give him his due as a legitimate asset to the C’s bench?

    Finally, I am loving the fact that Rondo is finally starting to take this 15fter when teams go under the picks (as they all do.) I’ve been saying for awhile now, he can hit that shot, and he did today. I’d love to see more of it, and it he can hit it reliably, their going to start having to fight over picks, and there will be absolutely not stopping him (if there even is now.)

  • DRJ1

    @Jay P– Right about TA. No question now, TA is playing much, MUCH better than Paul. On both sides of the court.

    Paul has become an embarrassment, to us and, I would think, to himself, or at least the memory of what he once was. That memory is fading fast… the man looks hopeless out there. Doc’s got to start sitting him a lot more… and not just wait for the foul excuse…. As it is, it feels almost as if Doc is embarrassed to take Paul out of the game UNLESS he has the fouls excuse…. which would be really weird, so I gotta hope that’s not the case.

    Well, if not… then Paul should be doing a lot of sitting, barring some 180-degree turnaround, which does NOT look anywhere close to happening. We’re not talking about a shooter here, like Ray, who can turn it around anytime. Paul’s losing the ball almost every time he tries to dribble, throwing it out of bounds at the end of halves…. the kinds of problems that don’t just suddenly go away. He’s deteriorated in a dramatic and very worrisome way — to the point now where he barely qualifies to play in the pro league. He’s that bad. Worst player on the team. Literally.

    Doc’s got to make a decision. Quickly.

  • RBD

    @DRJ1

    Paul has played very poorly on the offensive end. He’s done a decent job on the defensive end. I don’t think any reasonable person would disagree with either of those statements.

    But you get into crazed hyperbole with your comments about his deterioration and assertions that he barely qualifies to play in the pro league (once again – it’s hard to take you seriously with this kind of rhetoric). Paul was very good against Miami – which was, what, ten days ago? His game is no better or worse, broadly speaking, than it was all year. Any other conclusion is suspect. And when you consider he’s the primary defender against the best player in the world, and has been in foul trouble, well… again… I think reasonable people understand why he’s playing poorly (not that we excuse it – but we understand it’s not some sea change in his game). And reasonable people expect him to break out of it.

    I would argue to you that the kind of problems Paul is having are EXACTLY the kinds of problems that suddenly go away. I think you’re 100% wrong about that one. And if the Cavs commit Lebron to cover Rajon for the whole of game six, I think you’ll see those problems fade away. And even if they don’t, a breakthrough is inevitable.

    What Doc should do is start Paul, look to get him going on offense and as fouls and quality of play dictate, he should sub in Tony and switch assignments on Lebron. Paul gives us a benefit in the half-court offense that Tony doesn’t. He draws defensive attention on the perimeter – which opens up the game. Watch them sag into the paint when Tony’s out there.

    Also, you used the word literally wrong. I have never seen anyone use that word accurately when commenting about sports.

  • Rich

    As a cavs fan, I’m hoping we keep things the way they are. Nothing wrong with a series going 7 games, but as it is now it is Boston who needs to take another one in Cleveland and so it should be them doing the adjusting. Putting LeBron on Rondo is asking for some extra trouble. People (aka fans) whining and crying because their team is dominating every game like they think they should be is no reason to make rash changes like putting LeBron on Rondo.

  • RBD

    @Rich

    What is Boston supposed to adjust to? What we did today works. I mean – we could adjust somehow so that PP gets some points up on the board, but it doesn’t make any sense for us to adjust because we have to win in Cleveland. You lost me there.

    Do you think Mike Brown will use LBJ on Rondo? Or is that just post-game chatter?

  • Rich

    Knowing Mike Brown I’m saying it won’t happen. He didn’t make a huge adjustment last year against the Magic,and I can’t see him doing it here.

    It worked because you won, but did the Cavs not get a TON of open threes? At home, do you not think those things are going down for a team that normally shoots them well. The point is, the series is 2-2, and quite frankly I don’t think the team who has home court advantage needs to be the one making a lot of changes. Maybe Boston doesn’t either, but they are the ones who have to press the issue more than the Cavs, no?

  • DRJ1

    @RBD– I used the word “literally” exactly the way I meant to use it, i.e., correctly. Literally. Paul is now “literally” “the worst player on this team.” How do I say that any clearer… please advise.

    Paul was ok in the Miami series. Far from great. Against weak competition. At THIS point, Paul cannot hold on to the basketball if he’s required to dribble. It’s that bad. And his defense on Lebron has been ok OCCASIONALLY. Most of the time, Lebron does whatever he wants to do against him… and it takes the whole Celtics team to stop him.

    As bad as TA used to be… Paul is now much worse. It’s embarrassing and disgusting and absolutely deadly to this team’s chances. There are 3 — just THREE games left to this season, unless they play their best ball. I don’t see how that’s possible with a black hole like Paul in their midst.

  • RBD

    I think Boston really does need to win game five. I am in no way a referee conspiracy theorist but I loathe the idea of LBJ at home, in game 7, with NBA referees. So, I think Boston needs to win game 5 in Cleveland and game 6 in Boston, if they want to win the series. If Cleveland wins game 5, I think they’re taking the series.

    As far as adjustments go, I would be pretty happy if you guys didn’t make any adjustments on how you’re covering Rondo. Would be happy to see him do that again. Honestly, I think you’d be better off neutralizing him, if you can, and taking your chances with a groggy-looking PP. The only issue is – I’m not sure you guys have the personnel or schemes to stop RR.

    My broad theory is this – this series is Boston’s to win or lose. We’ve seen them play extremely well and extremely poorly. I’m not convinced the Cavs have the talent, and especially, the second star, to beat a Boston team playing with energy and heart. Your second best player is probably the third or fourth best player if he was on the Celtics. That’s a problem. Title teams have two stars, not one.

    All that noted, Boston seems incapable of stringing together multiple games where they play strongly. I have no confidence it’s going to start now.

  • RBD

    @DRJ1

    Literal means “in actual fact.” In actual fact, Brian Scalabrine is a worse player than Paul Pierce, even now. As is Nate Robinson. As is that scrub from the D-League. Etc. I’m just being a dick about it though, as it’s a pet peeve of mine.

    So your theory is that from game 5 vs. Miami to game 1 vs. Cleveland, Paul went from being one of our best players to a guy so bad he should no longer be in the league. And that these problems are not situational, but long term (e.g. don’t suddenly vanish)?

  • Rich

    They aren’t suddenly vanishing anytime in this series RBD (hopping into different debate). He isn’t suddenly going to explode so long as LeBron is alive and well.

    And yea, I’m ok with Rondo having an all time great game, while LeBron was more than below average (7-18, 7 turnovers) and being down 3 with about 3 minutes to go on the road. Move that exact same game to Cleveland, and the things that change are the role players. Tony Allen isn’t scoring 15 on the road and Delonte isn’t going 0-7 at home. Basically, even if Rondo goes out of his mind like that again, they still won’t win another game in Cleveland, or so I feel.

  • DRJ1

    @RBD– That’s the way it looks to me. 4 games in a row where Paul has been HORRIBLE… and not in the way Ray is sometimes bad, as shooters get cold. But confused, awkward, unable to dribble… not an NBA-level player.

    When evaluating a player in the playoffs, you have to look at where he is RIGHT NOW. There is NO TIME to wait, hope he gets better, rely on his history, etc. No time. The end is nigh. Just 2 or 3 games away.

    And his talents did not “suddenly” vanish. They’ve been missing for MOST of this season, and most of the playoffs, including vs. Miami, when he was also not up to par in most games. The one game-winner he hit — which of course everyone remembers — was actually a bad shot choice that he happened to hit. The decision to take it was bad.

    The question is simple and urgent: What should Doc do with Paul now? Pull him? Or start him and be ready to pull him out quickly if he’s terrible again? Either way, without a viable Paul Pierce, it’s going to be very hard to get anywhere in these playoffs. But the decision is still here to be made.

  • DRJ1

    Oh, btw RBD. Scal or Nate or ANY player on this team is currently better than Paul. Paul has become, right now, a black hole, easily the worst player on the team. Literally.

  • RBD

    @Rich

    Like I say, you may be right.

    And PP may be cooked for this series. Or he may not. All credit to LBJ for his work on D, but PP may be good for a single game where he puts up 25 on efficient shooting. If that happens alongside a big night from Ray or Rajon, C’s are probably winning. Hoping for this in game six.

    I’ll caution you on one thing though – you shouldn’t expect Celtics role players to shrink on the road just because Cleveland’s do (that’s your intimation I think). Our guys have come up big in big spots before. Honestly, I’m not even sure Tony Allen knows where he is half the time. Being at the Q may not mean anything to him.

    In any case, really do appreciate your civil tone and rational discourse. Hope we’ll see you back here over the next couple of days.

  • matthew

    @DRJ1- i completely agree with you about pierce. he looks completely lost out there. you can see it in his face. “literally”. :)

    in any case, i do hope he steps it up. he needs to be reliable offensively if the celts are stealing game 5.

    the only good thing about pierce’s struggles is that you KNOW the Cs can still be better. well, that plus i think it burst his ego-inflated balloon to smithereens. “not literally”.

    Go celts!

  • RBD

    @DRJ1

    Obviously, you’ll not be dissuaded from your beliefs on Paul. I think you’re wrong. Regardless, I think we both hope he has a breakout sometime in the next, oh, 48 hours or so.

  • Rich

    Won’t see me Tuesday night. Making the drive for game 6. If I paid 120$ for crappy seats only to watch my team lose, I won’t be in the mood to post. And if they win, I’ll be way to freaking drunk to post.

    And I’m not saying this role player or that role player shrinks or shines here or there. It’s just an NBA saying that your role players play well at home, and the stars carry you on the road. Generally, role players under perform on the road, which is why they are role players and not star players. I mean, the same Delonte West was very very good in game 3. But, he was just as bad in game 4. At home, you can usually count on him to be somewhere in the middle, but every single time. Not these wild swings, but thats what happens with role players on the road.

  • Rich

    Game 5 I meant.

    And in no way am I saying Paul Pierce is done as a player…I do think he is done for this series though. If the Celtics do beat the Cavs, I’d expect him to have a field day against Vince Carter…but struggle immensely against Pietrus.

  • matthew

    of course, i wouldn’t go as far as to say Scal is better than Pierce right now. hehehe… PP on his worst day and with a cast in his right arm can still defend LBJ better than Scal at his best.

  • DRJ1

    Of course, RBD, we all hope for the breakout. But if Doc’s going to wait for that… he might just wait forever, because right now “forever” is defined as 3 more games. I’m worried. Paul seems hopeless. I think we need to go to plan B. Or at least figure one out.

    I’m not usually the doomsayer. Usually the opposite (especially in this past regular season). Paul really looks hopeless to me. But… can’t prove that. It’s unknowable. It’s a strong feeling…..

  • RBD

    I think Doc’s handling it right (I think Doc has done an excellent job in this series overall actually). But I don’t even think Doc has much of a choice on this one.

    If we run Tony Allen out there with the other starters, our halfcourt offense is going to be a huge problem. Pierce at least keeps them honest, which opens up lanes for RR to drive, and keeps doubles away from KG and Ray.

    I think we have to get something out of Paul. I don’t know what something is at this point. Excellent D and a few clutch three point shots? That might do it. A couple of finishes in transition and a couple elbow jumpers. That might also do it. Hurling himself at the glass and getting four or five offensive rebounds. Also good.

    I just don’t think we have a choice. Paul has to produce something on offense. And I agree with you – it has to happen now.

  • RBD

    Separate issue -

    Mike Gorman mentioned it after the game tonight. Sheed, Perk and especially KG have to step up on the boards come Tuesday night. We need those guys to compete with RR for the team lead in rebounds.

  • DRJ1

    Well… sadly, you are right… there’s not a lot of choice. Unless he goes for something radical, but that’s not Doc’s way. Bottom line might just be that the only way we climb the mountain all the way is if Paul somehow wakes up, soon. Everybody else on this team has shown that they can. In a sense, then… it’s all on Paul now. Ugh.

  • Ray Leighton

    Guys, think about this for a second — we won, even though both Paul and Ray had poor offensive games. If either of them were shooting well, game 4 would have been a blow-out. I think that the team, Doc, and Rondo, all understand that Paul is going to be tired, and that Paul is not playing well right now, but we also are long past the point where this team is relying on Paul to win it for us in the 4th. We’ve got enough weapons that we can go to other people when someone is not shooting well, and the decision is going to be in Rondo’s hands. Paul and Ray both still did a good job on defense. There’s no doubt that the Celtics have to play great team defense to hold Lebron to 22 (and they did). But Paul has to get some of the credit for that.

    Btw, putting Lebron on Rondo is pointless. Lebron is very quick for a forward, but he is not quick enough to cover a point-guard as fast as Rondo.

    @Jay P — you have company — read my earlier post.

    @Rich — our bench tends to be erratic, but road vs. home has had little effect on them in that regard, especially for players who have been part of the “core”. It’s one of the reasons why the Celtics were so good on the road. I would assume that this is also true for the Cavs.

  • DRJ1

    @Ray– True, a saving grace is that Rondo can choose to limit Paul’s damage. I wonder, though, whether it’s possible for this team to win the championship with Paul playing like this. My feeling is that it is not.

    Also note: Ray had a not-great game, shooting around 38%. But as you pointed out, his D was excellent, and he was his usual self in terms of protecting the rock. Paul, on the other hand, basically lost the ball whenever he tried to dribble. Horrible stuff. Paul is much more damaging to the team.

    And the central question is: what is there to be done about this? Continue to start Paul? What are the alternatives? We have 3 more games to our season, potentially… there’s no TIME to test and hope he wakes up.

    No time. Ain’t that the truth.

    Meanwhile… for pure entertainment value, I’d love to see Lebron on Rondo. Just to see what happens!? There are certain guards that NOBODY can stay in front of. Not even other guards. And what Cleveland is contemplating is a fundamental mistake of physics. They’re confusing “speed” with “quickness”. Lebron is very fast… and he’s even quick for his size… but at 280 lbs, it’s impossible for him to match Rondo’s quickness (the ability to change one’s vector sum). I’d like to watch him try.

    My prediction is that they won’t do it. First, because it’s not smart. Second, because it could badly embarrass Lebron, and of all the things he might do, that (something potentially embarrassing) would be the least likely.

  • http://hoopstersworld.blogspot.com miss j.moxie

    What struck me most about this article is that 22 points is pedestrian, for Lebron. And that is scary. Because I’d really hate to see (again) what nonpedestrian looks like.

  • http://hoopstersworld.blogspot.com miss j.moxie

    I was reading the game recap on nba.com, and there were a couple of lines that put the fear in me.

    First:

    “With the Cavaliers having recovered from a double-digit deficit to take a temporary lead in the third quarter, the Celtics appeared to be on the verge of what’s become their customary second-half collapse.”

    It’s true. The C’s always seem to let things slip in the second half. I know teams will make runs, but it seems that these runs are larger (in terms of points) and quicker than usual against the C’s. The good guys have been able to survive some of these runs so far, but they can’t withstand them every night, can they?

    Second:

    “And yet, despite the hustle, the energy, Rondo, Tony Allen, Davis and the best crowd TD Garden has had all season, the Cavaliers still had a chance to win. Maybe that’s the lesson, that Cleveland’s better, in the end, is better than Boston’s best…”

    I don’t know about Cleveland’s better being better than Boston’s best, but it’s true that even when the C’s are playing well and ultimately win the game, at some point in the game, the Cavs still had a chance to win. And this, too, scares me.

  • DRJ1

    If they had faced Boston’s best, it would have been a blowout. Let’s remember that the Cs won with a less-than-optimal Paul Pierce (speaking euphemistically), and with Ray not shooting well. Boston’s “best” is with those two on their game, or at least average. Imagine the score if that had been the case.

    CLE is a good team, no question about it. But best vs. best goes to Boston.

  • http://BOOKMARK Britta Nate

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