Boston Celtics (0-1) at Cleveland Cavaliers (1-0)
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
7:00 PM ET
Playoffs Round 1, Game 2
TV: TNT, CSNNE, FSOH, NBA-TV Canada
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 1100 WTAM
Quicken Loans Arena
Referees: Danny Crawford, Marc Davis, Bennett Salvatore
The Celtics will try to bounce back from their game 1 loss as they play game 2 at Cleveland. The Celtics had a 45 minute film session before Monday's practice and the players were confident after practice that they could make the adjustments to give them a chance to win in this one.
Avery Bradley is one Celtic who struggled with his shot in game 1. He shot just 3-of-10 from the field and 1-of-6 from beyond the arc to finish with 7 points. It was just the third time in his last 19 games that Bradley had failed to crack double figures. Bradley has shown in the past that he bounces back after bad games and has vowed to do just that in this game.
The two first year coaches will be tested as they both plot adjustments. The Celtics will need to play near perfect basketball and they need to play with energy the entire game. They will need to overcome the talent disparity by playing harder, especially on the defensive end. Their youth and depth should help in that area.
Isaiah Thomas, who played very well in the first game, may have some extra motivation since he was beaten for the Sixth Man of the Year award by Toronto's Lou Williams. I expect a big game from him just because.
In spite of the officiating going decidedly the Cavs way, JR Smith had the nerve to complain about the officiating, saying that Avery Bradley was on Kobe's level and that you can't touch him. The only problem with that is that Avery got ZERO free throws and that definitely isn't a guy that gets all the calls like Kobe.
Probable Starting Matchups
Marcus Smart vs Kyrie Irving
Avery Bradley vs JR Smith
Evan Turner vs LeBron James
Brandon Bass vs Kevin Love
Tyler Zeller vs Timofey Mozgov
Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out
Marcus Smart vs Kyrie Irving
Irving is one of the top point guards in the league and had his way with the Celtics in the first game, scoring 30 points, including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. Smart will need to adjust and play tough defense to try to slow him down.
Evan Turner vs LeBron James
LeBron James is tough for any team to cover. In game 1, the Celtics concentrated on slowing him down and he chose to get his teammates more involved. He still scored 20 points on 8-18 shooting. Expect Jae Crowder and Brandon Bass to both share in covering James and slowing him down. They will also need to make James work harder on the defensive end.
Brandon Bass vs Kevin Love
Love struggled at the beginning of game 1 but came on strong at the end. He is capable of hitting from beyond the arc and can stretch the floor as well as to rebound and take the ball inside. LeBron has said that he wants to keep Love involved and that means that the Celtics need to work harder to cover him.
Keys to the Game
Defense Defense Defense!! The Celtics must play tough defense and concentrate on getting stops. They need to pick up their defensive intensity, especially beyond the arc where the Cavs excelled in game 1. The Cavs are 19-0 when they shoot over 40% from beyond the arc. They shot 41.9% on threes in game 1 and the Celtics will need to tighten up their defense on the perimeter. The Cavs are 24-0 at home when they score 100+ points. It will be very important for the Celtics to play tough defense on the Cavs and concentrate on getting stops.
Rebound - The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. They must crash the boards as a team to prevent the Cavs from getting second chance and fast break points. They also need to rebound to give themselves extra possessions and to fuel their running game. They were out-rebounded 46-34 in the first game and boxing out and crashing the boards must be a priority in this game.
Run! Run! Run! - The Celtics need to push the pace of the game and keep the Cavs running. If they do, they will have a chance to get some easy points before the Cavs defense sets up. The Celtics ran in the first half of game 1 and they were able to build a lead. Then when they slowed the game down, the Cavs were able to take over. The Celtics are young and deep and should be able to run the entire game. When the game slows down, it plays to the Cavs strengths.
Play with Effort - The Celtics have been winning games by putting out more effort than their opponents. They don't have the talent that the Cavs do, so they have to make up for it with effort and aggressiveness. They can't afford to come out with less than a full 100% effort. They have to be the first to get to loose balls and rebounds, and they have to be the team that works harder if they want to have a chance to win this game. There can be no let up!!
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man. But, in doing so, they have to keep their focus and avoid turning the ball over. When the Celtics turn the ball over, the Cavs get easy baskets. The Celtics must take care of the ball and avoid careless turnovers and at the same time, they have to keep it moving and not hold it or over dribble.
Go to the Hoop - The Celtics need to go to the hoop and get into the paint. 3-pointers are nice and all but when they aren't falling, they can take a team right out of a game. The Celtics need to drive more and not rely as much on shooting from beyond the arc, especially when they aren't falling. Of course, hopefully they will be hitting their 3's. Also, they can't expect to get calls when they drive because more often than not, the calls won't be made so they need to go strong to the hoop.
Cavs at Home and Officiating
The Cavs are 11-5 at home vs the Celtics all time in the playoffs. They have played very well there all season and even though their crowd isn't one of the greatest, they still give them an advantage. The Celtics need to use the hostile environment as motivation to play together and play better.
The officiating was definitely tilted toward the Cavs in the first game. Even the national TV announcers constantly mentioned the bad calls against the Celtics and the no calls on the Cavs, especially the fact that LeBron constantly got away with fouling with no calls. It may be too much to expect them to call the game fairly and call LeBron for his fouls. But we can only hope. The refs for this game don't give much reason for hope, however.
Entering his 30th NBA season, Dan Crawford has officiated 1,926 regular season and 265 Playoff games, including 30 NBA Finals games. During his NBA tenure, Crawford has officiated the 1994 and 2001 NBA All-Star Games, and the 1992 Japan Games in Yokohama. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford spent four years officiating in the CBA. He has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conferences, and he officiated the 1983 and 1984 National Junior College Nationals.
After one of the Celtics playoff games in Chicago in round 1 in 2008, there was some controversy when he was seen leaving the arena with his family all decked out in Chicago Bulls gear (along with Marc Davis and his family). He was in the news last season because he was accused of having a bias against Marc Cuban because the Mavs were 2-16 in games officiated by Crawford two seasons ago and Cuban was very vocal about it. In the last regular season game that he called for the Celtics this season, the Celtics shot 34 free throws to 10 for the Pistons and most of the questionable calls went the Celtics way. So, who knows what we will get in this game. The Celtics are 2-1 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Crawford on the court while the Cavs are 3-2 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Crawford. His home win/loss record this season is 38-25.
Marc Davis has been an NBA official for the past 16 seasons, working 977 regular season games, 55 Playoff games, and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Davis has officiated four Finals games during his career. In addition to his NBA experience, Davis has three years of CBA officiating experience and three years of collegiate basketball officiating experience in the OVC and TAAC Junior Colleges. He grew up in Chicago and is still active in the Chicago area.
Davis was investigated for threatening to whoop Allen Iverson's a** when AI complained about a call in a game in 2005, but was not suspended for it. The Celtics history with Davis goes way back also. In 2009, Davis was seen after a Celtics/Bulls game with his family all decked out in Bulls gear. Can a Bulls fan honestly call a Celtics game without any bias, especially one against the Bulls?
In a win against the Hawks three seasons ago with Davis, the officiating was terrible. The Hawks shot 23 free throws to 13 for the Celtics. KG fouled out in that game on a terrible call. They were holding his jersey and had an elbow in his back and they called the foul on KG. Greg Stiemsma fouled out shortly after on two more terrible calls. In the 4th quarter, 12 fouls were called on the Celtics and only 4 on the Hawks. In OT, 4 fouls were called on the Celtics while none were called on the Hawks, even through there were several very obvious fouls committed. Donny Marshall usually doesn't comment on the officiating but said that the Celtics needed to send the tape of that game to the league because Davis made it all about him. Davis also called Game 1 of the Hawks playoff series three seasons ago. There were missed and bad calls the entire game. At one point, the ref at half court called an obvious foul on the Hawks when Davis, right next to the play, failed to call it. The frustration over the lack of calls boiled over and resulted in Rondo bumping Davis and being ejected and suspended.
In a game two seasons ago against the Bulls, the officiating was terrible. With 12 seconds left, Pierce was trapped and fouled, including a busted lip, right in front of Davis with no call. Rondo was signalling for a time out right in Davis' face but they called a jump ball instead of calling the foul or the time out. Even Hubie Brown was talking about how bad the calls were the entire game and Hubie doesn't usually comment on the officiating. Last season, in a game against the Kings, Davis even got to the mild mannered Brad Stevens. Davis ignored obvious pushing and shoving by DeMarcus Cousins all night. At one point, Gerald Wallace pointed out an obvious foul by Cousins and was tossed to which Stevens pointed out that he could have thrown out Cousins all game and was tossed as well. He has been decent in his 5 games this season and, if anything, in one of the games, gave the Celtics the benefit of the doubt. I wonder if his problem was with Rondo all along and with Rondo gone, he's feeling a kind of kinship with the Celtics. Stranger things have happened, I guess. However, in his last regular season game against the Nets, the officiating was terrible. Every little ticky tack foul went against the Celtics but Brooklyn was allowed to get away with hacks and shoves all night. Brooklyn shot 30 free throws to 14 for the Celtics. Again, who knows what they will get in this one.
The Celtics are 6-0 this season, including a win over the Knicks in preseason, and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Davis while the Cavs are 4-0 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 with Davis. His home W/L record this season is 36-35.
Bennett Salvatore - Bennett Salvatore has been an official in the NBA for the past 32 seasons, and has worked 1,764 regular season and 235 playoff games, including 25 NBA Finals games. Salvatore has also worked the 1993 and 2002 NBA All-Star Games, the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany, and the 1997 Mexico Challenge. Prior to joining the NBA, Salvatore spent two years officiating in the CBA and10 years officiating high school.
Salvatore may just be the worst ref in the league, and that is saying a lot because there are some bad ones. Almost always one team or the other gets an advantage when he is officiating and I'll give you a hint, it usually isn't the Celtics.
Salvatore made one of the most controversial calls in NBA finals history in game 5 of the 2006 finals. The call basically gave the Heat their championship. Here is Bill Simmons' take on the call.
Salvatore called the foul on Wade's final drive in overtime (remember, the call where ABC couldn't find a replay to show that anyone touched him?) even though he was standing at midcourt a full 35-40 feet from the play, and even though two other refs were closer to the play. Not only was that NOT his call, he butchered it.
Another of Salvatore's "butchered" calls was in the 2008 conference finals when he waved off a contested 3-pointer that Paul Pierce had hoisted over Richard Hamilton, inducing Hamilton to leave his feet with a ball fake and land on Pierce's back. Pierce, however, was charged with an offensive foul for creating the contact with Hamilton. It was a terrible call. The thing with Salvatore is you never know what you will get. He can be good but he can also be very, very bad. In case you don't believe me, here's a very small taste of Salvatore in action:
Against the Heat, this season, the officiating was terrible and mostly one sided against the Celtics. Miami shot 34 free throws to 17 for the Celtics. Often Salvatore tries to make the game about him and he usually succeeds because rarely do you not notice him for his bad calls one way or the other. The Celtics are 2-1 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Salvatore as a referee while the Cavs are 3-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 with Salvatore. He is probably the worst ref in the league. His home W/L record this season is 27-16.
Alternate: Kevin Scott