Like Game 1, the Cavs had their chance to win a game in Boston. Like Game 1, turnovers, poor shot selection and an extended period of lackluster play all contributed to the loss. Now Cleveland has to hope they can recover, they can regain the momentum and the series holds up with the home team winning.
The Cavs had a 14 point lead late in the first half. They got a defensive stop and I said “wouldn’t it be great to go up 15 by halftime.” These words should have never been spoken. Boston went on a 14-3 run to trail by 3 at halftime. The worst part, they did it behind Rajon Rondo. Rajon freakin’ Rondo. He doesn’t hit two three’s in a game let alone on back-to-back possessions.
The Cavs had a 14 point lead with just less than 4 minutes to play in the first half. They were playing well, LeBron remembered how to make a shot, the defense was swarming, KG was struggling, Mike Brown was playing paddy cake on the bench as Damon Jones and Eric Snow coach and the Cavs energy took the Boston crowd out of the game. This was a time for the Cavs to push the lead. A time to kick the bully while there is dirt in his eye. Boston isn’t going to give you many chances to beat them but this was one of them. The Cavs needed to take advantage. But like Game 1 when they didn’t take advantage of Paul Pierce playing like Larry Hughes, Cleveland didn’t take advantage of their 14 point lead. Instead, they let Boston come back and use their end of the first half run as momentum to continue it in the second.
Mike Brown needed to call a timeout to settle everyone down, especially the crowd. He needed to put LeBron back in the game regardless of how many fouls he had or how many minutes he had already played. He needed to stop doing the “wheels on the bus” hand motions on the sideline. I don’t know why I expect him to do any of these. That would all be “coaching moves” and why should I expect Mike Brown to coach. (He also should have played Damon Jones after Gibson got hurt since they needed a three-point shooter.)
I don’t understand how the Cavs play so poorly in the third quarter of every single game. I was looking back at what I wrote last year during the playoffs and the third quarter was a big topic. The Cavs suck in the third quarter. I don’t get this. You have all of halftime to rest and game plan and make adjustments, and the Cavs come out more flat than an A-cup. When I played basketball, granted it was just high school, but I learned, and I believe, the first four minutes of the second half are the most important minutes of a basketball game. If you are down, a run can get you back in the game. If you’re up, a run can be devastating to your opponent. If it’s close, a run can give you the edge, and the points, you need coming down the stretch. Instead, game after game, the Cavs come out of the lockerroom and look like they were sleeping rather than preparing. That’s unacceptable. That’s coaching.
What I said yesterday, limit the turnovers and Cavs would win. Well, they came out in the third quarter and turned the ball over three straight times. That will equal a loss 90% of the time. What will equal a loss 100% of the time, having five more turnovers than assists: 11 assist to 16 turnovers. I don’t even know what number is worse. Eleven assists on 29 baskets. That’s horrible. There’s more assists on the playground games. There’s more assist in one-on-one games. LeBron had two more assist in Game 5 than the entire team in Game 6. Rondo, yes the guy named Rajon, had two more assists than the entire Cavs team. That’s sick. Rondo. I still can’t believe it.
Now, for Game 6, Boston should be fired up and ready to close out the series. They should want to prove they can win on the road and what better time to prove it than a series clinching game. But I feel all right about the Cavs winning Game 6. I wouldn’t feel that way if Boston had anyone (other than Cassell [a long time ago] and Posey [a role player]) who’s won a championship. I don’t see Boston doing what they need to do to win. I think they’ll be tight and tentative. And LeBron will be pissed and ready to go. This is going seven.