Cleveland 101 Boston 93
That’s it, folks. It’s been a fun ride, but now it’s over.
Cleveland was firmly in control for the whole first half. In the second, Boston did their best comeback act, but it wasn’t enough. The Cavs led by as many as 21 Points and the Cs managed to cut it to six, but that’s as close as it got.
First, this was not a fun game to watch. I’m all for chippy playoff basketball, but things got out of line.
In the first quarter, Kelly and Kevin Love were fighting for a loose ball. Love had better position, but that didn’t stop Kelly from fouling Love; maybe out of frustration, in order to prevent transition offense, or some combination of the two. Their arms were tangled and Kelly may not have been aware of his own strength. Love dislocated his shoulder, and later said the play was malicious. Kelly had no comment:
What ensued was Cleveland retaliation and plain old dirty basketball. Kendrick Perkins, a former fan favorite in Boston, pushed Jae to the floor by his face and even gave him another slap after he got back up. Amazingly, there was no ejection:
I think I speak for Cs fans everywhere when I say Perk is dead to me.
The second, and more despicable play came in the 3rd Quarter when J.R. Smith punched Jae in the face on a box-out attempt, with Jae spraining his ACL upon falling to the floor:
After all of this nonsense, the Cs went on a run and nearly climbed back into the game, but their shooting woes cost them any last chance. When the final buzzer sounded, Boston was 3/23 from long distance and 24/37 at the Free Throw line. Their defense was insufficient, with a combined 5 Steals and Blocks. Cleveland had 18. The Cs turned the ball over 14 times, and the Cavs only 8.
Plain and simple, Boston was overmatched in this series. LeBron and Kyrie did the bulk of Cleveland’s heavy-lifting, especially in the 4th Quarter, staving off any Celtic runs. Boston doesn’t have anyone to fill this void for them. Isaiah and Sully each had 21 Points, but Isaiah’s came on 4/17 Shooting (he was 12/12 from the line), and Sully doesn’t score 20 Points consistently enough.
I’m still extremely proud of this season. The Cs shattered everyone’s expectations, including my own, and never let Cleveland blow them out. The supporting cast is in place. Now, all they need is an All-Star to get them over the hump.
Expect Danny and Brad to start off-season preparations immediately. Heading into Brad’s third year on the job, they’ll both have strong ideas about how to take the next step towards winning 50 games. The Cs still have a boatload of draft picks, including two Firsts and a very early 2nd this year. They also have a slew of young talent. All that happens now is Trader Danny sits back and waits for the right opportunity.
It was painful to get swept by LeBron and friends, but it was necessary in that it highlights the Cs’ most glaring weaknesses. Fans can rest assured knowing the team is in a great position. Even though the season is over, there is tons to look forward to.
Homer Johnsen is a freelance writer and Salary Cap Intern for the Boston Celtics. With the 2014-15 season officially over, his focus is on cutting discretionary costs (food, socks, etc.) to better position the Celtics for free agency. His Celtics reactions and number-crunching methods are available right here on HeresTheDealLikeShaquille.