Mo Williams streaked down the right side, Lebron James down the left, Paul Pierce the only Celtic back on defense. Though Williams had the ball, Pierce did what any human being with half a brain would; he shaded toward Lebron. Williams could either a) lay the ball in himself or b) leave it off to Lebron. Unfortunately for the Celtics, he picked answer c) none of the above.
What Williams did next stunned the world and humiliated Pierce; he turned the ball over and dunked on Pierce’s late-rotating face. It was like Shaq pulling up for three, Mike Brown substituting himself into the game, or Nate Robinson posting up on 12 straight possessions. And it turned the entire game around. An easily winnable game for Boston turned into nothing but a missed opportunity and a 101-93 loss.
Before Williams’ dunk, his first as a Cleveland Cavalier, the Celtics were in control. Rajon Rondo looked like the best point guard in basketball. Paul Pierce scored 8 quick first-quarter points. Kevin Garnett had his way with Antawn Jamison. Kendrick Perkins limited Shaq. But Williams’ dunk, and his ensuing hot streak from the floor, was exactly the spark the Cavs needed.
The Celtics looked great for a half, but halftime adjustments by Mike Brown changed the game for the worse. Anthony Parker started guarding Rondo. Cleveland decided to exploit Boston’s pick-and-roll defense. Lebron James continued to do Lebron James things. And Paul Pierce started tossing bricks.
After this one, I don’t know whether to be encouraged by the fact Boston easily could have come away with a W or devastated by the fact they might have just let their best opportunity to steal one in Cleveland slip right through their cracks. Boston was completely in control for 30 or so minutes of this game, but the last 18 minutes were all Cleveland.
P.S. Lebron had the quietest 35, 7 and 7 in history. The Celtics can’t play much better defense on the two-time MVP.
- Rondo finished with 27 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds. Straight killin’.
- Perk had 9 points and 11 rebounds, and did a good job on Shaq. Nice game by the Beast.
- I stick by what I said before the series: Kevin Garnett can abuse Antawn Jamison. 18 and 10 for KG, 7 and 9 for Jamison.
- Pierce started off burning hot, but cooled down quickly. He finished with 13 points on 5-17 shooting.
- Boston’s bench was thoroughly atrocious. Cleveland’s wasn’t.