Things went south in Boston really fast night. Josh Beckett let his fastball fly around Fenway Park last night and got rocked because of it, the Bruins, who were looking to get a head start on the Eastern Conference Finals, instead found themselves down by two goals to the Flyers in the first period… but none of that compared to the carnage in the TD Bank Garden last night.
The Celtics left their swagger, attitude or whatever in Cleveland, or maybe Lebron James just slapped it out of their mouths.
That Monday meltdown that Cleveland had seemed like it was ages ago as the Cavaliers came into Boston and landed an early knockout in a 124-95 beat down last night, and it wasn’t even that close.
All five Cavaliers starters scored in double figures and Delonte West added 14 off of that bench. Meanwhile for Boston all they could muster was another great performance by Rajon Rondo, great considering the circumstances, and Kevin Garnett. Other than that, they were dead as you could get. Paul Pierce shot 4-15 and Ray Allen was 2-9 and the bench was just as ineffective. “Big Baby” Davis and Rasheed Wallace played 15 uninspired minutes as they committed lazy fouls and were beat to every rebound and loose ball as the Cavs controlled the tempo for the entire game.
Most importantly though it was King James leading the way from beginning to end as the King jumped on the C’s early with 28 first half points, ten more than his entire total from game two. There’s been a lot of talk about Lebron’s elbow and whether or not the pain in the elbow was causing some problems and limiting the way he plays the game… Friday night ended all of that talk.
“I know I’m going to hear a lot about the elbow, but I’m here to play basketball and give our team a chance to win,” James said. “We knew how important it was to come out and play aggressively after giving away Game 2.” Not just game two but almost game one as well. The Cavaliers were as unimpressive in the first two games of a series as you can get. They trailed at the half in both games at home and if not for a Mo Williams spark in game one the Cavs could easily be down 2-1 as they are up.
Yet all of that seemed irrelevant as the Cavs shot 67% in the opening half of game three and scored 65 points, 36 in the first quarter all while getting back to what makes them what they are; good defense and letting Lebron work his magic.
“It was great to see LeBron set the tone from the jump,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “And the rest of the team followed.” they sure did. Lebron’s performance in this game from the jump was all about aggression. He had three first half assists as the greedy side of Bron Bron took over, although it should be noted he finished with seven assists in addition to his 38 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Lebron’s entire demeanor had changed for this game. He barked orders at teammates, snarled at referees and was nothing like the playful, exuberant superstar that we’ve come to know. Dare I say that he got some Jordan in him and the killer instinct took over. My buddy Will put it plain and simple after game two, “he’s gotta start being like Jordan. He’s gotta get mad at people when the (bleep) up. That’s the one thing about Bron, he doesn’t get abrasive with his teammates when he has to, cuz you know Kobe is quick to yell at his boys when they (bleep) up.” Maybe Lebron got the message. Maybe he got tired of the elbow, and the lackluster play of his teammates and decided to get everything in gear and start becoming aggressive towards everything in sight. That’s what the Cavs need honestly. They need Lebron to get in their tails and get them to work harder and not be lackadaisical on the floor. It worked in game three and should continue throughout the rest of the series.
As for the Celtics? Well, the worst is over for now anyway. It’s becoming clear that Paul Pierce is a shell of his former self and their bench is all but worthless at this point. If they have any shot at beating Cleveland they need Rondo to continue to play at his current level and hope everything falls into place.
That seems farfetched at this point however. With Lebron feeling better and the Cavs rolling it’s looking like an early exit for the C’s and questions will start up about the future of this team. They got a kick start last night once their beat down ended. Good thing for them they weren’t they only bad show in town last night. They have a little company in Josh Beckett and Tuukka Rask in the Boston doghouse.