FINAL, Cavaliers 108-88: It’s hard to find a silver lining about this game for the Celtics. They shot 70 percent in the first quarter and finished the game at 41 percent. They led by one after the third quarter and were outscored by 20 in the fourth. And worst of all, they looked tired doing it.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 36 points, but he didn’t dominate. Mo Williams hit five three-pointers to put the game out of reach late.
By the time Leon Powe scored his first basket of the season, the building was 3/4 empty.
2:59 4th quarter, Cavaliers 99-85: Almost everyone heading for the door now. The Celtics are being outhustled. Not much fun to watch. Boston is down to 43 percent shooting.
5:29 4th quarter, Cavaliers 93-83: Williams hits back-to-back threes, and some Celtics fans are actually heading for the exits.
6:38 4th quarter, Cavaliers 88-80: Mo Williams gives Cleveland their largest lead of the game with a three. Cleveland is up to 52 percent shooting, the Celtics down to 45 percent. That great first quarter doesn’t mean much now for Boston.
8:27 4th quarter, Cavaliers 82-78: Well Cleveland has the lead now. Why does four points with almost nine minutes left feel like a lot? The Celtics have lost their momentum. Tony Allen had the right idea taking it to the basket, but he got called for a charge. Rondo needs to keep driving.
END 3d quarter, Celtics 74-73: Rajon Rondo had 14 points at halftime, and he has 15 points now. It’s not necessarily a habit, but Rondo sometimes stops making big offensive plays in the second half, even when they seemed so easy in the first.
More bad news for Celtics fans: the Cavs are actually making free throws tonight (9 of 13).
4:27 3d quarter, Celtics 69-62: The Celtics have 15 points off their bench, which doesn’t seem bad except that Marquis Daniels, typically a bench player, is a starter tonight. Daniels has 4 points starting for Paul Pierce, who is typically in double-figures by this point. Without Pierce, the Celtics bench needs to step up even more than usual tonight.
Nate Robinson anyone?
6:37 3d quarter, Celtics 65-59: LeBron James now has 26, Anderson Varejao has 12. The rest of the Cavs have 21 points combined.
Halftime, Celtics 56-48: Last play of the half aside, the Celtics have done what they wanted against Cleveland in the first half. Ray Allen was 5 of 6 in the half for 15 points. LeBron James leads Cleveland with 21 on 7 of 14 shooting.
Nice moment at the end of the half as the Garden fans gave a standing ovation for Leon Powe when he checked in with 59 seconds remaining in the half. Classy gesture for a classy player.
Also Shaquille O’Neal has a “significant right thumb sprain” and will not return to the game, according to the Celtics medical staff.
5:39 2d quarter, Celtics 42-35: A nice little 8-2 run for the Cavs to get back into the game. You didn’t think the Celtics would win going away, did you?
9:45 2d quarter, Celtics 40-27: Nate Robinson has come off the bench and knocked in a couple of threes, proving that it is indeed possible for someone besides Eddie House to do that.
END 1st quarter, Celtics 31-21: Pretty sure Doc Rivers didn’t envision his team shooting 70 percent from the field in the first quarter, but he’ll more than take it. The Cavs are connecting on just 36 percent of their field goals. LeBron is 4 of 8, which isn’t terrible, but he’s not getting much help.
4:41 1st quarter, Celtics 21-12: Great start by the Celtics. Rajon Rondo has 10 points and Ray Allen has seven, the last three coming on a 3-pointer that forced a Cleveland timeout. This is exactly the start the Celtics needed against Cleveland. If they start the second half the same way, they’re going to be just fine. That’s a big if.
8:45 1st quarter, Celtics 8-6: Rajon Rondo has six early points, the last couple on a fast break dunk. The crowd’s into this one.
10:20 1st quarter, Celtics 4-3: As expected, Marquis Daniels starts out on LeBron James.
Pregame: We’re hoping to put our internet troubles behind us and blog the heck out of what should be a great game. Stay tuned.