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Starting five: Cavs 108, Celts 84

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  May 10, 2008 11:15 PM

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If you're looking for postgame overreaction, you've come to the right place . . .

1. Well, the only way that could have been uglier is if ABC had hit us with a few more Delonte West closeups. (All right, cheap shot. Forgive me. I just watched two hours of hideous basketball, I'm out of malt liquor and Smart Puffs, and I'm cranky.) Though I did keep expecting the Celtics to make a run that never really came, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that Cleveland won going away. That's what quality basketball teams are supposed to do when they are playing their first home game in a series they are trailing. It's just that it was so - I don't know, alarming or frustrating or disappointing - to watch the Celtics play so lethargically pretty much from beginning to end, with the exceptions of Kevin Garnett and the admirable James Posey. The offense never found a rhythm and there was way too much one-on-one (and one-on-two) play, especially when Slingin' Sam Cassell was on the court. The defense was just as bad. Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West got open looks all night, Joe Smith played well enough to almost convince Kevin McHale he was worth the five No. 1 picks, and Ben Wallace somehow shook off his osteoporosis long enough to score nine points and grab nine rebounds. Those four mediocrities combined for 63 points - 22 more than Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. That's inexcusable, and if those numbers aren't reversed in Game 4, this series is going to be tied, and we're going to continue to wonder why this team suddenly looks so disjointed and beatable on the road.

2. If Kendrick Perkins isn't going to bother to step up and cut off the driving lanes on defense - and tonight he was moving his feet like he was shuffling to the kitchen to start the first pot of coffee in the morning - then he shouldn't even bother taking his warmups off, because there's absolutely no reason for him to be on the court. Leon Powe might be undersized by comparison, but the effort is always there on both ends of the floor, and it doesn't take him the entire shot clock to gather himself for a dunk.

3. For someone who's built like an NFL tight end, LeBron sure has an aversion to contact - I think he dives more than all of the Montreal Canadiens combined. Though I guess I can't really blame him: His he-touched-me! whines are inevitably followed by a whistle. It's good to be the king.

4. I have nothing against West, who always played hard while he was here and gets the most out of his varied but limited skills. But I have to admit it annoys the hell out of me to watch someone I associate with an atrocious Celtics team light up this usually winning group. That's not how it's supposed to work. And that goes double for Szczerbiak.

5. As for today's Completely Random Basketball Card:


Yeah, he's a Cav in this picture (love the "Solid Gold"-inspired jerseys), but after what I saw of Cassell and Rajon Rondo tonight, I'm starting to think ol' Bags would be a decent point guard alternative in Game 3. (Okay, so it's not quite that bad . . . but man, the point guard play has got to be better on the road.)

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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