Celtics 104, Cavaliers 86
It was an eerily similar situation in the third quarter of tonight's Game 2 in relation to that of Saturday night's Game 1 -- a similarity that brought back stinging memories to the Celtics and their fans.
In Game 1, the Celtics dominated the first 30 minutes of the game and held onto an 11-point lead with 6:03 remaining in the game. But after a Cavaliers timeout at the 5:52 mark of the third period, Boston was unable to withstand the haymaker Cleveland threw at them over the final 18 minutes of the game and wound up with a loss.
In Game 2, the Celtics again outplayed the Cavaliers for nearly the entire first half and took a 52-48 lead into the locker room. When the second half opened up they were able to extend that lead to 11 points at the 7:03 mark, just a 71-second difference from the exact position they stood two nights before.
This time, though, there was no miraculous comeback to be had. Boston did what championship-caliber teams do -- they stomped on the Cavs while they were down, and they did it at both ends of the court.
The Cavaliers were only able to muster up two field goals for the remainder of the third period while numerous Celtics netted points at the other end. Ray Allen led the way over that critical stretch, at one point scoring seven points in a span of only two minutes and 18 seconds. Over the final 7:03 of the third, Allen was joined in the scoring column by Kendrick Perkins (four points), Kevin Garnett (three points), Paul Pierce (two points), Glen Davis (two points) and Rajon Rondo (one point).
Those six Celtics combined to drop 19 points in for Boston while the Cavaliers scored only five, which left a much different result at the end of this third period in comparison to Saturday night's.
In Game 1, the Celtics squandered their lead and headed into the fourth quarter trailing by one point. Tonight, they had turned this one into a laugher by building a 23-point lead heading into the deciding period, and although the Cavs made a minor run in the fourth, the C's stopped the bleeding and held on for a convincing 18-point blowout win.
Key Box Score Line
For the second time in as many games, Rajon Rondo proved to be the best player on the court -- not LeBron James. He followed up Saturday night's impressive performance by tying for a Celtics playoff record with 19 assists while also dropping in 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field.
Rondo is quickly establishing himself as the x-factor in this series by constantly putting pressure on the Cavaliers' defense. That pressure is leading to a healthy portion of wide-open looks for his teammates, and the C's are reaping the benefits of those looks.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kevin Garnett (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (13 points, 19 assists) were the only players in the game to record double-doubles.
- Three starters for Boston recorded at least seven rebounds: Garnett (10), Kendrick Perkins (nine) and Ray ALlen (seven).
- Rasheed Wallace scored 17 points in 18 minutes off the bench on an incredible 7-of-8 shooting performance.
- The Celtics recorded 30 assists compared to Cleveland's 17.
- Rajon Rondo had 12 assists at halftime, while the Cavs had a total of 11.
- Rondo tied for the Celtics playoff record with 19 assists and also chipped in 13 points.
- Kevin Garnett took a game-high 21 shots, making eight of them.
- Cleveland took 38 free throw attempts compared to Boston's 18.
- The Celtics outrebounded Cleveland 43-32.
- Mo Williams dished out a team-high seven assists for Cleveland.
- LeBron James took 15 field goal attempts and 15 free throw attempts. He finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
- Antawn Jamison (16 points) and J.J. Hickson (13 points) were the only Cavs other than James to score in double-figures.
- Boston committed 19 turnovers tonight, leading to 20 Cleveland points.
- The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics 18-6 in fast break points.
- Tony Allen led all Boston reserves with four rebounds.
- The Celtics shot 51.3 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from 3-point range.
Quote of the Night
Mike Brown on tonight's game: "We all got our behind kicked. Every single one of us, starting with myself, did not fight tonight and it showed on the court. You gotta give the Celtics credit. It's 1-1, but let's keep it real, they kicked out behinds tonight."