We all knew this was going to be a tough series. What we didn't know, or believe, would be the Cavaliers would play uninspired basketball, at The Q no-less, in getting drilled by the Celtics 104-86.
Much will be made of the Cavaliers furious rally. How they nearly came back from 20+ points down to make it a game. Like Game 3 against Chicago, however, that rally came up short. Perhaps more troubling, at least to me, is how the Cavs fell down by 25 to begin with.
Playing what might of been the worst playoff game of his career, LeBron James simply could not get into a rhythem. At least for the first 3 quarters. LeBron did end up with 24 points on 7-15 from the field, but James was 0-4 from deep. As is the case most night, the Cavaliers go as LeBron goes - that's what makes him the MVP, and that's what can lead to a blowout such as this on nights that LeBron is either hurting or simply off.
A personal pet-peeve of mine, free throws, continued to be a major thorn in the side of the Cavaliers. Cleveland missed 12 free throws(26/38), hitting under 70% again. In the playoffs, the Cavaliers free throw shooting has been plain awful and is a huge reason for their two losses to date.
No, I won't blow this out of proportion. It is one game - no matter what the final score. There is an old saying, however - a playoff series doesn't really get started until the road team wins a game. Consider this series off and running in a big way. The Cavaliers now know that they will have to do something they could not do in 2008 - win a game in Boston.
In that series, the Cavaliers lost all 4 games in Boston on their way to a 7-game defeat at the hands of the Celtics. It was one of the driving forces for the Cavaliers to get home-court throughout the playoffs the past two seasons. The Celtics have now taken away that home court advantage. Simply win their home games, and the Celtics win the series.
Perhaps a good thing for the Cavaliers is the fact they will get to think about this loss for 4 days - Game 3 won't take place until Friday night. That is a long time to hear the questions, to discuss an embarrassing loss, and focus on whether or not LeBron James is healthy.
Whatever the case may be, the Cavaliers need to be concerned about Mo Williams. Yes, he played well in the 3rd Quarter of Game 1, a huge reason why the Cavaliers were able to come back and win. Tonight was a different story. Williams just about everything he put up, including a technical free throw in the 4th Quarter. For the game, Williams scored 4 points on 1-10 shooting. Compare that to the production the Celtics are getting from Rajon Rondo(13 points, 19 assists) and it makes it tough to keep up - whether you like Williams or not.
I'll say it again, this is not panic time, far from it. The series is tied 1-1 and both teams will have plenty of rest heading into Game 3. The Cavaliers' goal heading to Boston should be the same as the Celtics coming to Cleveland - split the two games over the weekend and regain home-court.
At least we know the Cavaliers can likely not play any worse. Now they get to think about it. The Celtics came to Cleveland and stole home-court advantage from the Cavaliers. The Cavs need to return the favor.