When you purchased those single game tickets back in October looking forward to the Cav's last visit to the Garden for the year, this can't be what you had in mind. When the guys wearing ties could take any combination of the guys wearing shorts, it's time to start figuring out how you can get your money back. We had a nice applicable quote from a Hindu Veda, but after all the flack that Bob Day took yesterday, we decided the better of it.
Well, at least Ryan Gomes came to play, as he opened the first quarter with 10 points and 4 rebounds on 5 of 6 shooting. Kendrick Perkins had a couple of nice hooks, but also got one stuffed by Ilgauskas without Z even jumping. I think we can say with certainty that Perk will never be included in a slam dunk contest. Delonte West did not start. According to Doc in the post-game interview, Delonte lost his starting spot by showing up late to the pre-game meeting. But the Celtics nonetheless took a 12 point lead (28-16) out of the first quarter. On the other hand, the Cavs played the first quarter in a team-wide state of catatonia.
Somehow the Cs second unit was able to fritter away the entire 12 point lead in less than 5 minutes of the second quarter (32-32 at the 7:28 mark). Luckily, Leon Powe seems to get that you are supposed to play hard no matter what (5 points, 1 rebound and lots of activity), even if you are only getting paid a mere $432,000 (which appears to be the approximate worth of the gold watch that LeBron was sporting tonight). Watch it LeBron, you might not be able to afford that 19th bathroom in the new pad. Perkins continued to show what a good passer he is, re-entering the game with a nice entry pass to Jefferson for a dunk. Gerald Green had a nice quarter (8 points on 4-4 shooting), as did Jefferson and Gomes. Rondo ended the half with a nice drive and dishâ€¦.to a guy in the third row. You know, 53-49 Celtics lead at halftime on 52% shooting and only 7 turnovers is really not that bad. So why did it feel that way?
The third quarter was more aesthetically pleasing, with Jefferson and Perkins looking like they have been watching film of Bill Walton and Vlade Divac passing the ball from the high and low post. Perkins continues to be this spring's revelation. This is what Ainge thought he had when he extended Perk - a rebounder, shot blocker, and physical presence with a nice passing touch. Ah, Gerald, Gerald, Gerald. Is this the real you? Why don't we see this more often? Gerald looked confident and assertive with his offense in the third quarter, as he did throughout much of the game. The Cavs archetypal play of the quarter came when Aleksandar Pavlovic missed a shot and then lingered under the basket, disgusted at himself, the refs, somebody, as the Celtics raced down 5 on 4 and Gomes nailed a jumper. Nice effort Pav.
The fourth quarter continued Allan Ray's audition for the Milan Club League (Ray has hit 22 of 61 [36%] in the past month). Unbelievably, the second unit repeated their sterling second quarter performance exactly by yielding the entire 12-point lead within 5 minutes (84-84 at the seven minute mark). Even the quick reinsertion of Al could not stem the tide. Anderson Varejao continued to epitomize the phase "active body" making some nice aggressive plays at both ends. In came Perkins and Rondo to join Jefferson, West, and Gomes, with Green quickly following in place of Gomes. With about 4 minutes left, Jefferson stripped Scott Pollard and got it quickly up to West for a lay-up and a 92-90 lead, and the Garden erupted (really, it did).
Mike Brown apparently took a page from the Doc Rivers' Coaching Manual (available in the remainder bin at your local Borders) by sitting the lethargic Drew Gooden for the entire fourth quarter. Jefferson played with passion at both ends of the court with a couple of nice blocks, including one on the estimable Damon Jones, who must have the lowest Q score in the NBA - when Mike Gorman hates you, you know you are no Tom Hanks. With 1.9 seconds left in regulation, Delonte executed a beautiful flop while penetrating, earning himself a foul call (that'll teach Doc to sit him when he shows up late) and hit two from the line. Jones then misses a 3 from the corner for the win. Perfect.
All in all, not bad. A win (yes, the Bucks are only 2 victories away nowâ€¦ the sky is falling). The kids who started played well, and they won a close game against a disinterested, but veteran team. Al ("show me the max contract extension") Jefferson had 25 points (on 9-16 shooting), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks, 1 steal and 0 turnovers and was the best player on the court by far. Green showed up to play this one, leading the Celtics in scoring with 25 points in the game. And Rondo once again proved that he is no slouch at the point guard position, finishing the night with nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Ok, the Celtics can keep our money: this one was fun after all.