The Boston Celtics continue their maddening ways of not adjusting to Rajon Rondo's game. The second half of game one saw the Cleveland Cavaliers gear their defense toward stopping Rondo's penetration.
The Cavaliers were quick to help and recover, forcing the action, which fueled their fast break.
Paul Pierce struggled mightily and Ray Allen could not use his length over Mo Williams or Delonte West effectively. Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins missed layups that might have preserved the win.
In some ways this team still has chemistry issues. They still haven't figured out how to keep Rondo involved when the game is in the balance.
They continue to go for the knockout punch, instead of doing what got them there in the first place. That is a rope-a-dope style that stuns opponents with body blows in the paint.
The Celtics had 52 points in the paint but when the game was in the balance they started shooting threes.
They allowed J.J. Hickson, Delonte West, and Mo Williams to supply the energy that the Cavaliers needed. Boston did all this after they publicly stated that they had to stop LeBron James' supporting cast.
Cleveland took what Boston gave them and then attacked the Celtic's lack of help-defense. They didn't do anything special because the game was up for grabs until the final minute.
The Celtics lost the mental focus that was necessary to withstand the defensive intensity that they knew was coming.
They wasted an opportunity to take home court away from Cleveland.
Boston can claim a moral victory, but there are none when a bid to continue your season is on the line.
Doc Rivers must once again preach the importance of playing the game the right way for 48 minutes. He must get Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to be patient when searching out their shots. He must find a way to keep Rondo actively involved in late game situations.
If the Celtics can do this they can win game two at Quicken Loans Arena.