Tag: Boston Cleveland Game 6

You should fear Tony Allen? Yes, it appears so


All the talk about that LeBron guy — not to mention the play of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — overshadowed the fact that the Celtics got contributions up and down the roster in this win. And this series.

For example, did you know Tony Allen was a ferocious dunker? Neither did we, but he threw down a monster that inspired the crowd and his teammates heading into the half last night. In the third quarter the Celtics pulled away.

Garnett's advice to LeBron: Get out now


Garnett_James.jpgKevin Garnett was loyal to Minnesota. Timberwolves fans may not see it that way now, but he could have left much earlier than he did. But he was loyal, he was going to bring a championship there. He wanted to play for just one team, to have that legacy as the ultimate face of a franchise. However, at every turn he felt management could not put the right pieces around him.

So he bolted, went to Boston, helped revitalize that franchise and won a title.

That history colors his advice to LeBron given after Game 6 (as reported here by Ken Berger of CBS):

“Loyalty is something that hurts you at times, because you can’t get youth back,” Garnett said…. “I can honestly say that if I could go back and do my situation over, knowing what I know now with this organization, I’d have done it a little sooner…”

“I don’t know what’s going through his mind,” Garnett said of LeBron. “He’s a different individual. I haven’t spoken to him or anything, but the world is his. Whatever he wants it to be, whatever decisions he makes are probably going to be best for him – not only him, but for him and his family.”

Translated: Get out while the getting is good.

This was going to be the Cavalier’s year. Shaq will be 39 next year, Antawn Jamison will turn 34 (and got thoroughly outplayed by Garnett). If he stays, who knows what moves the Cavs can and will make heading into next season. But as of right now, this is not a roster built for the long haul, it was built to win now. And it didn’t.

Garnett has been there. He wishes he had traded a little of that loyalty for youth. And nobody wants to see others make he same mistakes they did.

NBA Playoffs, Celtics Cavaliers Game 6: Kevin Garnett can still beat you


Garnett_dunk.jpgAt the trading deadline, Cavailers General Manager Danny Ferry was thinking about the Magic. As John Krolik explained long before tip off, Antwan Jamison was brought in to counter Rashard Lewis.

Nobody thought about Kevin Garnett.

For six games — and particularly in Game 6 — Garnett completely outplayed Jamison, and that was one of the keys to the series.

Thursday night, Garnett started out 5 of 5 from the floor, hitting his jumper over the top of Jamison’s outsreached arms. He got the ball where he wanted it, for example going 3 for 4 from the left mid-block area. He was hitting from everywhere, 6 of 10 outside 10 feet and 5 of 9 inside close to the rim. In the last four games of this series he shot 60 percent

Garnett was not quite his 2008 dominating self, particularly on defense — but he was close. He certainly was talking like it, barking like Garnett does. His knee may hold him back some still, but the longer rest between games in the playoffs seems to help him, he looks much more fresh than during the grind of the regular season.

Jamison had no answers. He was 2 of 10 shooting for five points and five rebounds, The man that came from Washington at the trading deadline was simply outmatched. Not physical enough inside, not quick enough, not tall enough.

That’s not all on Jamison, he is not what he was, and this is a tough match up for him. Some of that may fall on Danny Ferry.

As Mike Prada at SBNation reminded us, back at the trade deadline Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson was the hot rumor. It was talked about for a week and was considered pretty much a done deal.

Until the Cavaliers traded instead for Jamison.

Why? We’ll never really know. Deals fall apart for a million reasons. But as Prada points out, the very well connected Marc Stein of ESPN said the reason is the Cavaliers did not want to give up the promising young Hickson in the trade. For Jamison, it was more straight up. At the time, the Cavaliers brass all said they thought Jamison “fit” better than Stoudemire.

Bet they don’t think that now. And Garnett is happy they made the decision they did.

NBA Playoffs, Halftime: Boston Celtics 51, Cleveland Cavaliers 49

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Rondo_Charge.jpgJust what we all predicted, Mo Williams was going to come out and carry his team.

LeBron James has been much more aggressive, but he has not been efficient. He had 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting, plus he has six boards and five assists. The good news, only three of those 12 shoots are from the outside the paint. He’s attacking. But he has not been the story on the court. Well, except where the announcers keep talking about his future.

Cleveland came out playing the weak defense that has been at the heart of their problems throughout this series. Rajon Rondo was hitting the jumpers Cleveland dared him to take (the smart strategy), but they were also letting him drive to the rim with no resistance. He has a dozen points on 5 of 8 shooting.

Kevin Garnett came out hitting 5 of 5 because he can still get the midrange jumper, and he Cavs gave it to him. Antwan Jamison is totally outmatched. The Celtics were up 10 and you thought they might pull away.

But the Mo Williams show kept it close, 20 points. He pushed the ball — something Cleveland has not done enough this series. Williams is a streak player, and when he is feeling it.

Boston has some foul trouble issues — Rondo and Paul Pierce each have three fouls.

This has not been an impressive defensive show. Whichever team steps it up on defense is going to win this.

NBA Playoffs, Celtics Cavaliers Game 6: Shaq has plenty riding on this game, too


Thumbnail image for ONeal_Dunk.jpgIn 10 years, we’re all going to really miss Shaquille O’Neal.

The player, I mean. Shaq the pop culture personality will still be around on one reality show or another. But on the court he’ll be missed, the classic bruising big body, but with amazing quickness for his size. In some ways, his legacy is already set there — the man has four rings and was the most dominant center of his generation. He’ll be mentioned with Wilt and Kareem and Russell.

But he’s still got a lot on the line — starting tonight.

Shaq’s ego still demands he best Kobe (that is a two-way street, right there). Both have four rings, one ring without the other. But Kobe is well positioned to pick up another one or two in the next few years — the Lakers are a well-stocked team.

Shaq is running out of time. He came to Cleveland to help (or ride the coattails) of LeBron James to a ring. Now they might not even get out of the second round. No rings in that. Shaq needs a win tonight to keep that dream alive.

And after this season, then what? He needs this win to keep the aura of Shaq the winner going, to help his bank account if nothing else.

O’Neal has said he wants to play until he’s 40. And frankly, he can. You’re not going to 82 games of focused play out of him (nobody ever did) but he came back from his injury this year in the best shape he has been in for a long while. In the crucial Game 5, he was the one Cavalier who showed up to play.

At the end of this season he will be a free agent. There will be interest in him. But the multi-million dollar question is:

How big a pay cut will Shaq accept?

This season he is making $20 million. He has made that much or more for the last nine seasons? But what is a part-time center of Shaq’s caliber really worth on the open market? Probably in the $7 million range — a little above the average NBA salary.

Would Shaq accept that? He might not have to — if these Cavaliers come back and win it all, he can claim he helped lead them, that you are paying a little more for a locker-room leader. A winner. Maybe in this economy, he shouldn’t bet on that, but it’s a pitch.

Regardless of what happens in Game 6 Shaq may well not be back in Cleveland. He slows down a team that should run more. The Cavs went out and got him because they needed to counter Dwight Howard (which if they lose tonight because the Celtics are just quicker will be ironic). Bottom line, whether LeBron James stays or goes, the Cavs need to revamp their roster and get younger.

There will be interest from teams around the league. Solid centers who can help with marketing have a place in the league. But that gig doesn’t pay what it used to — and Shaq is used to being paid for being much more than serviceable.

Unless he can still say he’s a winner. Because he has those five rings. But needs a win tonight for any of that.