Celtics-Cavs Game 2
Before last night’s game, Paul Pierce was positively giddy. He had just received word that he landed on the All-NBA Third Team, the third time he’s received the honor (and the first since the 2003 season). Pierce’s suit jacket, a gray number with black highlights that oddly resembled a tux, had been hung on a chair in front of his locker and veteran big man PJ Brown could barely keep a straight face. “You going to the prom after this?” PJ joked. Pierce could only laugh.
The Captain is a happy man these days. He’s loose, relaxed, confident, and completely outplaying LeBron James. He even monopolized the question-time on the postgame podium, something that didn’t bother Kevin Garnett one bit. “Y’all keep asking Paul questions,” KG said. “Whatever he says, I agree with it.”
It’s good to be the The Truth. After the jump, three more things from last night’s game.
1. We were five questions into Cleveland coach Mike Brown’s press conference before the topic of LeBron was broached. Brown will never criticize James. Ever. In fairness, what could he possibly say most nights? But if Game 1 was an aberration, Game 2 wasn’t as easily explained away. The Celtics have made life miserable for King James so far, holding him to 8-for-42 shooting and forcing 17 turnovers. Nothing special, Doc Rivers said. The Celtics are just playing team defense, with the big men coming out to cut off LeBron’s driving lanes.
No question, LeBron has missed a bunch of shots he normally makes, but the Celtics have taken him completely out of his comfort zone. Still, the Celtics are wary of what James is capable of, and no one wants to light the match that rekindles his abilities. “Like TNT,” Doc said as he left the podium.
2. Doc was determined to get Ray Allen off to start the second half, after Ray went scoreless in the first game and the first half of last night (even missing a free throw on a technical). The first four or five plays of the half were designed to get Allen free, but he did it himself, forcing a steal and then getting a lay-up. More than anyone else, when Ray-Ray has it going, the Celtics offense becomes a joy to watch because the other team has to play honest and the C’s can space the floor.
3. A cynic would say that the Celtics haven’t proven a thing until they get a win on the road. Oddly enough, the pressure shifts to the C’s the next two games. Not in the context of the series, obviously, but losing three games in Atlanta took some of the shine off their season. Until they win away from the Garden, they will have to deal with the media scrutiny. Win one game in Cleveland and all that goes away.