Saturday, May 8, 2010
After Boston had outplayed Cleveland for the better part of Games One and Two, it looked like the Cavaliers and LeBron's elbow were in serious trouble. A game later, the Cavaliers are back in the driver's seat and are once again a force to be reckon with.
In last night's Game Three, Cleveland gave Boston it's worst home playoff defeat, crushing the Celtics 124-95. After Boston's near-perfect Game Two in Cleveland, the Cavaliers brought out their maroon and gold uniforms and made a statement on the Celtics home court.
Cleveland jumped all over Boston and led 36-17 after the first quarter, and never looked back. LeBron showed his elbow would not be a factor as he single-handily outscored the Celtics 21-17. The Cavs led 65-43 at halftime and continued their dominance in the second half, outscoring Boston in every quarter.
After Game Two, Cleveland coach Mike Brown said his team would have to go out after it, nothing would be given to them. His team responded by doing just that and making the game look like Boston gave it to them.
LeBron was unstoppable, hitting from all areas as he shot nearly 64 percent from the field, including 2-for-3 from downtown. When James is hitting his jumpshot, he becomes even more lethal as the inside game opens up allowing LeBron to take the ball to the hoop.
LeBron finished with 38 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. If his elbow was in pain, it didn't show from the free throw line where James was 8-for-9.
But of course James is only good as his supporting cast. In Game Three, they were excellent. Along with James, Cleveland had a total of six players in double figures. Antwan Jamison was huge with 20 points and 12 boards. Shaquille O'Neal put in 12 points and nine rebounds. Anthony Parker finally showed up with 11 points, hitting 3-of-3 from downtown. Mo Williams was himself again, scoring 12 and handing out seven dimes. And Delonte West contributed 14 off the bench.
As a team, Cleveland shot nearly 60 percent for the game, 41.7 percent from downtown, and 91.2 percent from the line.
The Cavs were finally able to contain Boston's Rajon Rondo. Rondo had been so effective in Cleveland creating easy shots for his team, but finished with only eight assists in Game Three.
Paul Pierce has been struggling in all three games so far, and last night was his most dismal performance. The truth is, Pierce shot just 4-15 from the field with 11 points.
Ray Allen also struggled, shooting 2-7 for seven points.
Cleveland has regained home court advantage and control of the series. If they can keep up this play in Game Four, the Cavs may not have to go return to Boston for a Game Six.