Lebron James’ elbow was used as an excuse whenever he struggled during the 2010 playoffs. But Scott Raab said James and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates had other, more detrimental issues. Specifically, he said the Cavs played Game 2 of the Boston Celtics series that year, a series the Celtics went on to win in six games, while hungover. (Deadspin)
By the season’s end, the Cavs had imploded, and rumors about Gloria James, queen mother,consorting with West had gone nationwide. I never bought into it for a second, but I tried to walk it back and figure out if anything at all had happened to hurt the Cavs besides the Celtics’ ferocity. What I came away with was that the team had partied all night and into the morning of Game 2, when they played like they were hung over and lost by double digits at home. They were hung over.
The Celtics had lost Game 1 and seemed to have no chance in the series. Remember, they had limped through an impossibly bad second half of the season. Kevin Garnett was hobbled. Every defensive rotation was slow. The second halves of games often resembled a zoo, if all the animals wore green jerseys and had been given extra-strength tranquilizers. Nobody gave Boston a shot against Cleveland, a juggernaut during the 2010 regular season. Until Game 2.
Then, Rajon Rondo threw 19 assists. Rasheed Wallace, whose lethargic play symbolized Boston’s entire second half of the season, poured in 17 points. Every Boston starter scored in double figures. Kevin Garnett and Rondo notched double-doubles, and Kendrick Perkins was one rebound shy. The Celtics jumped to a 91-66 lead. The Cavs ultimately put together a 17-2 run to cut the deficit to ten, but that was merely a footnote to the real story, which was that Boston stomped out the Cavs in their own stadium.
The Cavs shot just 40.0%. They made only 4 of 21 three-point attempts. They were outrebounded, 43-32, by a team that hadn’t rebounded well in months. They were outscored 31-12 in the third quarter by a team that hadn’t played a good second half in what seemed like forever. Hungover? If you believe Raab, that’s what the Cavaliers were. But even if they hadn’t been out the previous night drinking, the Cavs played like they had. The only thing missing was Lebron pounding Advil before the game while Antawn Jamison downed glass after glass of water.
After the game, Jamison just sounded surprised the Celtics didn’t bow down and kiss Lebron’s sneakers.
“They believe,” he said with wonderment.
Cleveland coach Mike Brown wasn’t quite as giving.
“We did not fight back until late,” a livid Brown said, his voice rising. “We’ve gotta decide if we’re going to take the fight to them and take these games. Nothing is going to be given to us at all. Ain’t a … damn thing going to be given to us at all in this series.
“We’ve got to fight better than what we did tonight. Coming from behind in the first game, coming from behind in the second game, that’s not good enough. That’s not good enough for me or anybody in that locker room. If we expect to win that series, we’ve gotta bring more of a sense of urgency than what we brought tonight. Plain and simple they kicked our behinds.”
If it looks like a hangover and smells like a hangover, by God, it just might be a hangover.