Saturday, May 1, 2010
The elbow is just fine. Maybe to the average person, a slight elbow injury would affect one's performance. But remember, Lebron is anything but average.
Lebron James put on another usual and solid performance as the Cleveland Cavaliers came from behind to take Game 1. The Cavs were down most of the game, even double digits in the third quarter. Lebron was himself, but it was Mo Williams who provided the spark Cleveland needed.
Ray Allen drained a 3 to put Boston up 69-58 with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter. You were starting to get the feeling that the Celtics were now healthy and peaking at the right time. With Lebron on the bench, Mo Williams scored the next 10 points for the Cavs to cut the Boston lead down to 5. Williams finished the game with 20 points, 6 dimes and 5 boards.
Lebron hit a layup at the end of the third to give Cleveland a 79-78 lead as the Cavs closed out the quarter on a 21-9 run.
You started to contemplate thas this was for sure Lebron's last hurrah in Cleveland. If they don't win it all, why would the guy stay. The team really hasn't given him anything. What, a washed up Shaq? Antawn Jamison? Yeah, how did all those players the Wizards departed with end up? Coren Butler and Brendan Haywood were suppose to get the Mavericks over the hump.
With the crowd back into the game, Cleveland held on to win the game. Lebron's 3 sealed the game with 23 seconds left as the Cavs won 101-93.
James shot 50% from the field for 35 points and added 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.
For Boston, Rajon Rondo nearly willed the Celtics to a Game 1 road win single handily. For much of the game, Rondo was the best player on the court for the Celtics, putting up 27 points, 12 assists and 6 boards. However, Rondo scored only 3 points in the crucial fourth quarter (all from the line).
The "Big 3" for Boston? Kevin Garnett was consistent with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Paul Pierce was all over the place shooting 5-17 for 13 points. Ray Allen had 14 points.
Probably the biggest factor for the Celtics' loss, and what's hurt them all year, is their bench. Cleveland outscored Boston 26-12 in bench points. Yeah, Delonte West comes off the bench for Cleveland, but might as well start over Anthony Parker. The Cavs got 11 points from J.J. Hickson in just under 12 minutes off the bench.
But when you rely on Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen, Glen Davis and Michael Finley (that's right, Michael freakin Finley!) off your bench, you're in a lot of trouble. "Big Baby" Davis is decent. But that's no Leon Powe or Eddie House who were crucial in Boston's championship run two years ago. How come Doc Rivers never plays Nate Robinson? Robinson is very inconsistent but at times could provide some quality play off your bench. Why did you ever bring the guy to your team then? Is he hurt? Is he too busy on Twitter? Why don't you just suit up Brian Scalabrine?
This series still has the potential to go 6 or 7 games, and should be fun to watch Lebron take on the entire Celtics team by himself. But I really doubt any of these two teams can get by the Orlando Magic who should be well rested by the time the winner of this series advances.
If anything, tonight Lebron seemed to overcome the growing pains that come with winning in the NBA. For Cleveland, lets just hope the rest team can continue to come through.