After losing 3 games on the road to the Atlanta Hawks and having their character questioned as that series went to 7 games, most expected the Celtics to learn from their mistakes and come out strong in this game to finally get a road win. But, it was more of the same as the Celtics' defense once again did not show up and they didn't move the ball or take the ball inside near enough.
The Cavs came out with much more energy than the Celtics and after a 4-0 lead by the Celtics, the Cavs poured it on and ran off 14 straight points to make it 14-4 when Doc called his first time out with just under 6 minutes to play in the first. By the end of the first quarter, the Cavs had pushed the lead to 32-13 on 65% shooting.
The Cavs led 52-35 at the half with the Cavs still shooting the lights out at 66%. There was a huge free throw discrepancy at the half as the Cavs shot 10 more free throws than the Celtics. The Cavs finished the game with 9 more free throws than the Celtics. A call that was typical of the way things went all night came in the first quarter when West tripped over his own feet and KG was called for a foul on the play. It was a terrible call and Doc was irate over it and was given a technical. Even the ABC announcers were commenting throughout the game about the bad calls by the officials.
The Celtics showed some life in the second quarter and cut the lead to 12 at one point, but the Cavs always had an answer. They got to the hoop at will and seemed to be open for jumpers every time down. To show how bad the Celtics defense was, on one play, Ilgauskas got the ball just past the free throw line and he drove all the way to the hoop without one Celtic challenging him. As slow as Ilgauskas is, that should never happen.
Ray Allen still struggled with his shot going 4-12 from the field for 10 points, Pierce hit only 3-8 shots for 14 points. Rondo was only 3-10 for 7 points and struggled somewhat, but in the second half he came out more aggressive and took the ball to the basket and that is when the Celtics cut into the lead. KG had 17 points and 9 rebounds. Perk finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Posey was big off the bench once again with 11 points and 2 rebounds. Cassell went 0-6 and finished with just 1 point. Powe had 6 points and 2 rebounds. On the other side, Wallace wasn't expected to play but started and set the tone for the game with 9 points and 9 rebounds and a lot of energy to start the game. James again struggled with his shot going 5-16 for 21 points, but he got his teammates involved. Delonte had a great game with 21 points (7-11), 5 rebounds, and 7 assists. Wally had 16 points and Joe Smith had 17.
The Cavs shot 54% from the field while the Celtics shot only 41%. I am just at a loss as to how the Celtics can hold the Cavs to 32% at home and then allow them to shoot 54% on the road. The Celtics also allowed the Cavs to out-rebound them 37-33 and the Cavs turned those rebounds into second chance points. The Cavs wanted this game more and it was obvious from the beginning. The Celtics were never really in this game as they came out with poor energy and simply didn't play defense. They also weren't aggressive going after rebounds, loose balls, or taking the ball to the hoop.
The constants in these road losses have been poor rebounding, failure to play defense, and poor officiating. The next game is Monday night and the Celtics will once again try to get their first road win in the playoffs. Great teams win on the road and there is no logical reason why the Celtics haven't been able to play on the road as they do in the Garden. Hopefully they can remedy that on Monday, but they will need to come out with a better effort than they showed in this one.