Talk about a trap game.
The Celtics were coming off a big win against the Heat, but had to travel to Cleveland for the second half of a back-to-back against the Cavs—a Cavs team without LeBron James, mind you. And whether it was the fact that the Celtics were taking Cleveland lightly or that they were tired in their first back-to-back, the team couldn’t finish the game.
I’m pointing to the latter, based on the fact that the Celtics wilted down the stretch. The Celtics looked to have things in control, only to see the Cavs outscore them 27-14 in the final quarter. The C’s had just three points in the final four minutes as the Cavs took control, thanks mostly to Boobie Gibson, some key buckets from Antawn Jamison, and a questionable 3-pointer down from Anthony Parker.
The Celtics will have one more game in Floptober, now brought to you by Anderson Varejao.
So Many Ways: That is how Rajon Rondo can beat you. Against the Heat, he had 17 assists and dominated the game in the first half. Against the Cavs, he looked for his own offense more, finishing with 18 points and still managing nine boards on the night.
Of course, Rondo disappeared in the final quarter, just like the rest of the team. But he was impressive for the first 36 minutes and has picked up where he left off last season. Oh, and he showcased that improve jumpshot a little bit too.
The C’s Power Forwards: KG and Big Baby both brought their offensive games tonight, and added a little bit more to the table.
KG had his jumpshot working in the first half, but you have to be more impressed with the fact that he got double-digit rebounds (15 tonight) for the second straight night. Glen Davis had a few big buckets and took some key charges. Along with Rondo, these three were the only ones to offer much good against the Cavs.
Perimeter Defense: The Celtics were slow off of picks all night, and struggled to get to open shooters. The Cavs had a number of open looks in the first half and down the stretch that Miami didn’t see in the first game.
Bad teams can beat the Celtics when they hit from beyond the arc. Sure, the Cavs were just 6-20 from beyond three-point land, but they hit some shots from just inside as well.
The Fourth Quarter: We already talked about the disastrous 4th quarter, but it sure was an ugly sight. The Celtics just didn’t have anything in the tank at the end of the day. There was no offensive cohesion, but there were a number of defensive lapses.
Jermaine O’Neal’s Night: JO just couldn’t get anything going against Cleveland. He fouled out in just 12 minutes of work, and that only allowed him to amass two points and a pair of rebounds.
It seems that the injury he suffered in the preseason has set him back quite a ways. JO’s offensive game is far behind what it was last season, and he can’t make an impact if he is getting called for fouls all the time. He went from being the likely starter to seeing his minutes go to Glen Davis in both crunch time and largely in general.