Cavaliers 85, Celtics 94
During the regular season, the Boston Celtics weren't known as a team that responded well to adversity. Heck, just look at the fact that they led the league in losses after leading by double-digits.
That was then. This is now.
Now is when the Celtics respond to adversity by shutting the door on their opponent, ending any hope it had of notching a comeback victory.
That's exactly what happened tonight, as Boston turned a four-point lead into a 14-point lead in a matter of only 3:42 of the fourth quarter.
After the Celtics seemingly had this one in the bag heading into the final period, LeBron James finally found his stroke from the outside, where he had been a non-factor all night long. James drilled two 3s in succession to cut a 10-point Boston lead down to four in the snap of a finger. That's when it was time for Boston to respond.
Doc Rivers called a timeout to regroup his players and revert them back to the play that had originally built their lead.
"That's what that timeout was about: to remind them that we can't do that, what he's doing," said Rivers, alluding to the fact that James was trying to win the game by himself. "We've got to continue to execute what we're doing, do it together, and slow down."
That talk is all his players needed, as they responded immediately with a series-clinching run.
Rajon Rondo started things off with a driving layup in the lane, then he found Paul Pierce wide open for a 3-pointer just seconds later that upped the Boston lead to nine. Rasheed Wallace then joined the mix by nailing another 3-pointer from directly in front of the Cavs bench, sending the Garden into a frenzy. After Mo Williams turned the ball over at the other end of the court, Rondo led a 3-on-1 against James, and the King had no chance of slowing it down.
Rondo suckered James into committing to him -- this time without a fake layup -- and dropped off a dime to Kevin Garnett, who was trailing behind him. KG took the pass and rose up for a thunderous slam that took the crowd from loud to louder, causing Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown to call for an immediate timeout.
As James walked to the bench, with his teammates trailing behind him, there was a clear look of dejection on his face. It was at that moment, with 5:53 remaining, that everything settled in: the Boston Celtics had knocked off the NBA's top regular season team, and James' career as a Cavalier had quite possibly come to an end.
Key Box Score Line
Kevin Garnett was the man tonight. It's as simple as that. He talked for the past 48 hours about coming into tonight's Game 6 with a Game 7 mentality, and boy, did he deliver on that statement.
Garnett came out of the gates firing, making all four of his field goal attempts in the first quarter while also grabbing four boards in the period. That quick start set the tone for Boston, but he wasn't done there. He finished the game with 22 points, 12 boards and three assists while not turning the ball over a single time.
Rajon Rondo was the man in Games 2 and 4, and Paul Pierce was the man in Game 5. Tonight, in Boston's series-clinching win, it was KG's turn to take the reigns and lead the way to the victory circle.
Box Score Nuggets
- Both teams shot 5-of-17 from 3-point range.
- Boston shot only 21-of-33 from the free-throw line.
- Kevin Garnett (22 points and 12 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (21 points and 12 assists) each recorded double-doubles for Boston.
- Rondo also recorded five steals in the game.
- Garnett shot 11-of-19 from the field.
- Seven different Celtics were charged with at least three personal fouls. Four of those players committed four fouls.
- Paul Pierce scored only 13 points but did shoot 3-of-5 from downtown.
- Cleveland outscored Boston 38-36 in points in the paint and 13-8 in second chance points.
- Both teams scored 18 points in the fourth quarter.
- Cleveland shot only 38.4 percent from the floor.
- The Celtics were outrebounded 48-37.
- The Cavaliers committed 24 turnovers, which led to 27 Boston points.
- Mo Williams scored 22 points for the Cavs, but 20 of those points came in the first half.
- LeBron James recorded a triple-double of 27 points, 19 assists and 10 rebounds.
- He almost had an unwanted quadruple-double, as he also committed nine turnovers. In addition to those struggles, he shot only 8-of-21 from the field.
- Boston outscored Cleveland 19-8 in fast break points.
- Ray Allen shot 0-for-5 from downtown and finished with only eight points.
- Rasheed Wallace (13 points) and Tony Allen (10 points) combined to score 23 of Boston's 24 bench points. Glen Davis scored the other point.
- None of Boston's five reserves who played tonight recorded an assist.
- James took a game-high 12 free throws, making nine of them.
- Rondo shot 9-of-15 from the floor.
Quote of the Night
Kevin Garnett on the amount of media at the postgame press conference, after a New York reporter (who was joined by many other out-of-town reporters for what may have been LeBron James' final game as a Cavalier) asked him a question: "There's a lot of people in this room boy. Man! Lot of people in this room. Haven't seen this many people in this room since...uhhh...'08. Hmmm..."