So no. There will be no magical wave that will carry these Cavaliers into Thursday. They'll actually be forced now to get back up off Tuesday night's Quicken Loans deck, shake this 106-87 haymaker style loss to the Celtics off, and do whatever it is they end up doing against Miami on Thursday. Before I get too much into foreshadowing that one though - and we will tomorrow - just a few things on tonight before moving on.
Byron Scott had the Cavs prepared to play on Tuesday. Period. They came out with way more focus than I expected, and jumped out early on Boston. In fact, that focus for the most part kept up throughout. And they still got rolled. Which is the issue. You can point to this play or that, but the fact is the Celtics are just better. I have no idea how Cleveland beat them earlier this season - without Mo? - but that wouldn't happen twice on this young season. Celtics wouldn't let it happen.
Rondo killed the Cavs as Rondo does to most teams. He was my preseason pick for MVP of the league. I used to not be able to stand Rondo, but when he consistently drops lines like 23 and 12 dimes along with 5 rebounds - and it isn't even that big a deal - you know the guy's good.
And you thought Hickson was going to be some level of good as well. By you I mean me. I still do I suppose, but it was real discouraging to see him go for ONE POINT in 25 minutes of action. I almost rather he didn't get that foul call with about 90 seconds to go setting up his only entry into the scoring column. And when he was there on the stripe, I also almost wish he had missed them both as weird as that sounds. 1 point just looks, well like 1 point. Half a basket, is what JJ scored tonight, and I really thought - read hoped - he was about to turn the corner with Mo now getting back into the swing of things. Maybe he still will. I am not, nor will I this season, give up on TheHickson. I do have to admit though, I am starting to be dissapointed. Hey JJ, you scored 31 on ATL...remember?
Anyways, good night for Anderson. He plays hard, and he played real well tonight. 16 and 12 for Andy on 7 of 12 shooting. Take that everynight, won't you? In fact, is that possible, Andy? Can we get that everynight? Sidenote on Varejao, I saw his brother after the game, and yeah, he looks just like Andy without the curly hair and I'd guess about 10 more years of aging. They looked so much alike though it was funny. He's pretty tall himself.
AP played well going for 13 I guess, and Gibson only needed 6 shots to get to 16. Ramon tried dunking with two hands, got rejected, finished with 14.
Oh, and by the way, Boston scored 60 points in the paint. Cavs only scored 87 total as a team. 60 points in the paint is a recipe for losing, a very good receipe. The Cavs played hard though, I'll give them that. I'm not mad or upset about the loss, just another loss. It's a process people.
Now before I get to a few postgame quotes, I did end up sitting next to and talking with Scott Raab throughout. I'll have more on that later maybe, but I just thought it worth mentioning that he's a really genuine, nice guy, and it was great talking with him. He's a Clevelander all day, and he made for some interesting and entertaining conversation about a number of topics throughout the game. I can't wait to buy his book. It's a must read for everybody.
"I told our guys after the game, that when you're playing against good teams, especially championship teams like Boston, you gotta trust each other...especially on defense. I thought we needed to do a better job of trusting each other tonight."
Byron Scott on JJ Hickson's play of late:
"He [JJ] is still trying to find his way. He struggled offensively tonight, but he'll be okay. He did have 9 rebounds...'I'm not worried about him."
JJ Hickson on the environment for Thursday's game against Miami:
"It's going to be hostile, it's going to be a great environment. I'd be lying if I said we'd treat it like a normal game."
Daniel Gibson on Thursday vs. Miami:
"It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting. We're looking to bounce back on Thursday. This is why we play the game."
Gibson on if he's been in contact with LeBron recently:
"We exchange a message here, a message there. We've been teammates for a long time, and I don't think that's gonna change. We'll be Fifty Years old and still in touch with each other."
More tomorrow. Heat's up next, if you hadn't heard.
I know they’re struggling down there. I know the wheels on what were once glowingly referred to by everybody’s favorite Uncle as the L-Train are coming off the tracks. Substance is surfacing as misrepresented facades crumble before the eyes of the masses who tuned in to witness the Decision.
I know he’s coming back this week. There’s a lot to talk about to be sure. But not tonight. Thursday can be even more riveting theatre than most – including myself – could have ever imagined back when we watched San Antonio take Cleveland apart on that second night of two back-to-back losses a couple weeks ago. The Cavs can move to a respectable 9-9 with a win on Thursday and hand Miami it’s ninth loss on this early quest towards 7 NBA titles that was danced about this summer, all on the same night.
That would be great. Read that last line with a hashtag that says understatement. But in order for it to be that great, the Cavs have a major hurdle they must clear in order to get there. They gotta beat Boston tonight. I’m down here now. Just sat down Let's get it Cleveland.
Couple notes. My media assigned seat is next to Scott Raab. Really hoping he can make it, looking forward to meeting him.
Cavs are starting Mo, Andy, AP, JJ, Joey Graham. Celtics going with Rondo, Pierce, Shaq, Garnett and Allen.
Thoughts on First Quarter:
The Cavs came out in that first quarter a lot more focused than I thought they would. I try to spew optimism at times, but I really wouldn’t have sat here shocked if they were down 10 heading into quarter number two.
They weren’t though. With all that awaits on Thursday, B-Scott had the fellas locked in to start. That’s no small feat I’d imagine.
After a ridiculous call by that old dude Chuck Barkley raced and then kissed about five years ago at the All Star Game helped the C’s cut into the lead some, the Cavs went to the break up 23-21. They trailed by that exact margin when they played on October 27th.
Oh and PS, I am sitting next to Scott Raab, who’s awesome.
Maurice Williams came out and got 5, Antawn hit a a jumper when they desperately needed one during a sloppy stretch mid-way through, and Anderson is leading the way in the point category – and effort category – with 6 points and 5 boards.
Oh and Rondo is hard to guard btw. He has 11. More at the half.
Thoughts on 2nd Quarter:
So the Celtics shot the lights out that quarter. By that I mean they scored 35 points. For the half the Celtics are shooting over 50% from the filed (51.1%) and the Cavaliers are shooting 38%.
The Celtics turned a 2-point first quarter lead into an 11-point lead by the half because, well basically because they are way better than Cleveland. Furthermore, I think Vegas will end up favoring them in a theoretical playoff series with the team coming in on Thursday (MIA) – but more specifically, they're winning because the Cavs both couldn't score, or stop anybody.
More like what I feared would happen deep down is happening. Rondo has 13 and 4. C's are rolling, JJ Hickson hasn't scored yet, and Boston is a just better team. What's scary, the Cavs came out focused and ready to roll - looked real sharp actually to start - and they just got rolled in the 2nd. What I'm saying is they played they're best, and it isn't quite good enough.