Brace yourself Cavaliers fans, we’re in for a fight.
The Celtics tied the best-of-seven series at two with a Game Four victory in Boston, 97-87.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with his fourth career triple-double in the playoffs. It seems the Cavs have no answer for Rondo, he is torching Cleveland in the series, averaging 19.3 points per game to along with 13 assists.
I suppose that’s the next acquisition for Cleveland GM Danny Ferry, somebody who can guard Rondo and stop his penetration, because I think it’s obvious that Mo Williams is not getting the job done.
Rondo’s triple-double performance was not the only reason for the Cavaliers defeat—it seemed like Boston wanted it more.
It was as if every loose ball wound up with a white jersey. Rondo and company just showed a little more hustle and tenacity than Cleveland did.
To me, especially after the Cavs dominating performance in Game Three, it was inexcusable for Cleveland to come out and play they way they did. They trailed by double-digits for most of the game, only cutting into the lead with a couple of runs here and there.
I think the performance directly reflects Cavaliers coach Mike Brown. He has to get his team ready to play every night, not every other night. Cleveland can’t afford to let teams hang around in playoff series, they need to finish them off when the momentum is in their favor, as it was going into Game Four for the Cavs and Brown.
I believe it is fair to say that his counterpart Doc Rivers is out-coaching him, through four games. Brown struggles with making in game adjustments and it is apparent that he has no idea how to use his bench.
Rivers, on the other hand, calls timely time-outs and in Game Four he realized Tony Allen had the hot hand, and stuck with him. Allen was 6-7 from the field and scored 15 points.
In Game Four, Cleveland’s bench only played a combined 54 minutes. Granted, the Cavs were trailing for most of the game so the starters stayed in for the most part, but with such a deep bench, Brown can’t be afraid to give the starters a breather.
Brown also needs to realize who is hot and who is not. Of the 54 bench minutes, Delonte West played 20 of them, going 0-7 from the field and missing all three of his open 3-point attempts. Does someone need to remind Brown that he has gooseneck himself Jamario Moon sitting there?
Moreover, heaven forbid if Brown ever decided to go with the forgotten Daniel Gibson. The guy shot nearly 48 percent from behind the arc this year, doesn’t he deserve at least a shot when the player ahead of him in the rotation is struggling?
With West in the game, Boston outscored the Cavs by 18. Brown should have recognized that it was not Delonte’s day.
Harping furthermore on Brown’s inability to rotate players, why did Shaquille O’Neal only play 49 seconds in the fourth quarter? I understand he went out early in the fourth with his fifth foul, but this is not college basketball, it’s the NBA and players get six fouls.
There is no sense saving him if Brown is going to have Cleveland play without him. Let him play and take himself out of the game by fouling out rather than having the big guy ride the pine.
Shaq had a great game through three quarters. He scored 17 points and even shot his free throws fairly well, going 7-11.
Boston out-rebounded Cleveland for the game 47-33. Down the stretch, the Celtics grabbed offensive rebound after offensive rebound, leading to easy points. For crying out loud, the 6-foot-1 Rondo had 18 rebounds by himself, and four on the offensive end.
Brown should be livid because of this. There is no reason that the Cavs should be out-rebounded by 14, allow a player just over six feet tall to grab 18 rebounds and in doing so, let rebound after rebound get away from them in the fourth quarter. If only Brown would have had a couple of seven-footers at his disposal to clean the glass.
Wait a second—he did. He had the 7-foot-1 O’Neal and the 7-foot-3 Zydrunas Ilgauskas collecting splinters sitting on the bench, instead of collecting rebounds on the court. He must have just misplaced the seven-foot big men like a woman who misplaces the pair of shoes that would just complete her outfit. Right? She knows that she bought them, but just can’t seem to find them when they’re needed most. What a drag.
Next time. someone should remind Brown where his big men are, or better yet, maybe Cleveland’s front office should hire someone who doesn’t misplace such valuable commodities such as seven foot big men.