There are two sides to everything. We'll start with the positive.
The Celtics led the Orlando Magic 3-2 last season in the 2nd Round before losing Games 6 and 7 to lose the series. It propelled the Magic into the Eastern Conference Finals, where Orlando beat the Cavaliers in 6-games. The Cavs had swept through the first two rounds and had a big layoff as they waited for Game 1. If the Cavaliers are going to get back to the Conference Finals they will have to follow the same recipe.
That's about it.
Now for the negative. How about everything. The Cavaliers played well for the first 14 minutes tonight, leading 29-21 early in the 2nd Quarter. That's when everything changed. The Celtics outscored the Cavaliers 99-59 over the final 34 minutes en-route to an embarrassing defeat for the Cavaliers.
Something is wrong with LeBron James. Perhaps it is physical. Perhaps it is mental. Whatever it is, something is wrong. It seems James is almost refusing to attack. On several possessions during key parts of the 2nd and 3rd quarters, LeBron was actually backing away in the half-court as if to say I have no desire to handle the ball. Whatever it is, and we may not find out until after the season, if at all, there is something going on in the Cavaliers locker room.
MIke Brown continues to look clueless. That hurts to say because I am a supporter of Brown's. You can't deny the obvious, however. The Cavaliers won 61-games with a certain rotation, certain line-up, certain way of doing things. While you need to adjust, Brown went away from everything early on tonight and it appears to have cost the Cavaliers. LeBron starting the 2nd Quarter, nine players seeing action in the 1st Quarter, a baffling loyalty to Mo Williams despite yet another playoff series of Williams providing nothing on either end of the floor. In the end, it could cost Brown his job.
It is clear the playoffs are now in Mo Williams' head. Williams, to his credit, admitted how much he was affected by his performance against Orlando last season. Unfortunately for Williams, he has had the double-nightmare of Derek Rose and Rajon Rondo. It has clearly affected his play on offense and it is killing the Cavaliers.
So that's that with that. An embarrassing loss has the Cavaliers on the cusp of another disappointing playoff exit. Mike Brown said after the game that we'll learn a lot about the Cavaliers in Game 6. Something tells me things will never be the same after what happened tonight.