The Boston Celtics need their frontcourt bench players to step up. Realistically there is no way the Cavalier bigs should be able to match up with the Celtics—they didn't. Glen Davis muddled his way into foul trouble and it looked like the pressure of finding out that he is on a real team has derailed Rasheed Wallace.
Shaquille O'Neal made a minor contribution, but because of Celtic ineptitude a six-point foray solidified the Cavalier win.
Wallace made one decisive shot, a dunk off of a Rondo feed. After that he short-armed every jumper opportunity that he had.
The much ballyhooed basketball IQ he supposedly has led to failed box-outs and reaching fouls; this from a man who played a pivotal role in the last Detroit Pistons championship.
He is an enigmatic player at best, if he had a theme song it would be Frank Sinatra's My Way. Rasheed did it his way by using the regular season to work on his three-point shot and getting into game shape.
This malaise of up and down play started with his arrival on this team. It may be wrong to put the entire blame on him, because the Celtics are supposed to have firm leadership in the clubhouse. It didn't help that Doc Rivers' penchant for trusting his veteran players backfired.
Doc gave Wallace playing time he did not deserve, meanwhile hardworking backup Shelden Williams languished on the bench. I am not saying that Williams would have morphed into an offensive juggernaut, but he would use his energy to attack the offensive and defensive glass.
It seems like Wallace has been garnering defensive and technical fouls to disguise the fact that he doesn’t have the ability to move laterally. His sloppy play leads to him playing matador defense and picking up reach-in fouls as his opponent blows by him.
This I am sure has the big three (who successfully wooed Wallace during his free-agency period by going to his house), a bit perturbed. It was even more evident after Paul Pierce made that Game Three winning jumper in Miami. Wallace tried to acknowledge Pierce's feat; Paul simply walked passed him into the embrace of his other teammates. Wallace tried to save face by celebrating with the other players.
He was brought in for this series to stretch the floor and keep Shaq away from the hoop. This will keep the floor spread so that Rajon Rondo can continue to attack the hoop in the middling play of the third and fourth quarters. Game One saw him do none of that.
The coaching staff is applying pressure on him to produce by controlling the only thing that they can—his playing time. They have demoted him to second big off the bench, an honor he was handed during the majority of the regular season. Now the Celtics are turning to a player that has experience they can count on, and that is Glen Davis.
Davis isn't off the hook either; he must make his energy matter on the court. He did it one time when he beat Andersen Varejao down the floor and was the recipient of a Rondo pass for a lay-up.
Big Baby must use his royal pulpiness and bull his way into the paint or take and make that sweet 15-foot jump shot that he has. He has to make the same impact that he had in last year’s playoff with fewer minutes.
It still comes down to Wallace though, he has no trade value and the Celtics are on the hook for two more seasons of his carcass.
He knows now that he cannot coast. He knows now that the Celtics try and take care of business before training camp.
It may be too late because everyone knows that you can't just flip a switch and elevate your game when the dimmer was stuck on neutral all season long. Can you? Game Two will tell...Stay tuned.