By Jon Evans
Far be it from me to attempt to craft some contrived introduction to this game. I’m going to assume that Lebron James has made sure you’re paying attention to this pivotal game 5.
An hour prior to the tip, hoards of reporters await the arrival of the King, hovering around his empty locker. Upon his arrival, LBJ fills everyones tape recorders with the standard, cliché-filled athlete-speak. The highlight of the session was Damon Jones surveying the scene from afar and insensibly yelling out “King!” repeatedly.
Out on the court, the green flames that have become a staple of the post season pregame introductions have been noticeably scaled back. The Commish is smiling.
Lebron comes off of a screen from Z and hits a fall-away jumper from the baseline. That’s back-to-back jumpers from Akron’s finest to open the game. The second of which the King felt confident enough to pose fro effect to sell the fadeaway for the cameras. Shooting like this = ominous
Not a good look – Ray trips and falls, freeing Wally for an open 3, 7-2 Cavs.
Rondo spits the double team, comes up empty on the floater. Thus far, double-R has missed more shots than Garnett has attempted.
P-squared has come out of the gate strong, following a pull-up jumper with a three-pointer to knot the score at 7.
LBJ steal, goes coast to coast for the lay-in. While he was stride for stride with LeBron on his way to the hoop, even Lucky the Leprechaun could see Ray Allen’s attempt to stop the King in transition not ending well. Indeed, Allen’s futile attempt leads to an old-fashioned three-point play for the King. Once again, not a good look for Mr. Allen, 10-9 Cavs.
6:17, Posey checks in for Ray Allen 6 minutes too late.
KG comes up short again, this time missing a jumper in close, C;s shooting 23.5% thus far.
So much for the DPOY – LBJ drives by Posey and makes short work of the help defense by KG, laying it in on the left side. Beyonce on the jumbotron. Empty seat next to her – I guess Jay is somewhere coming up with a freestyle dissing James Posey.
Rondo steal, lay-in awakens the Boston crowd. Seconds later, on the other end, a step back three form Wally puts Cavs up 6.
It’s Wally’s world. LBJ finds Zoolander for the jumper from left wing to put the Cavs up 5 at the end of the quarter.
LBJ drives left past Posey and drops in the scoop over PJ, Cavs +7.
Cassell misses baseline jumper – still hasn’t hit a shot since last Thursday.
During the timeout, the jumbotron shows the standard clip of Gene Hackman rallying his Hickory High troops. Reaching for the Hoosiers clip with 9 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter, desperation is a stinky cologne Boston.
Varejao jumper spoils 23.5 seconds of solid Celtics defense, 31-22, Cavs.
KG comes up short against the double team down low as Joe Smith blocks his attempt. Moments later, Smith picks Perkins’ pocket at the top of the key. Thus far, the Cavs are a step quicker on both sides of the ball, and are reaping the success of if, extending the lead to 13 with 7:30 left in the half.
Cassell finds Ray for a corner three, wet. The arena exhales as the C’s are now within striking distance. The three was one of the few possessions thus far where the Celtics have looked patient, trusted the system and made the extra pass. Amazing what returning to what you’ve successfully done all year can do.
Other end, KG demands the ball, and hits a turnaround fadeaway. KG’s talking to himself a lot now. Celtics minus six.
KG meets LBJ at the rim, LBJ wins, 37-29 Cavs.
Jay-Z, sitting next to the Cleveland bench, throws up the Roc. This is one of the few times I’m actually disappointed to not have DeShawn here.
A hush has come over the garden. LeBron hits the pull up jumper over Pierce giving him a game high 23. 43-29 Cavs.
The world’s most unselfish superstar strikes again as KG passes out with the ball in close. Double-R hits the 3, 43-34.
Double-R strikes again. On the ensuing possession, a corner 3 wakes up the crowd and puts the C’s within 6, 43-37.
PP tough drive, pullup jumper puts them down three. Closest they’ve been since the first quarter
Jay-Z and Beyonce head into the bowels of the arena among the press. After turning off to a separate area, the assembled press try to out-scoop each other with the ‘LeBron is going to follow his friend to Brooklyn’ story. Clearly the press have their ears to the streets.
Out of the gate, The Celtics crank up the intensity forcing three consecutive Cleveland turnovers and turning a three-point deficit into a lead early in the quarter.
Leading the pack, Double-R aggressively attacks the defense to open thing up for Boston. On one possession, he drives baseline and finds KG open for 18-footer from right baseline to put Boston on top.
KG looks homicidal – he aggressively talks to/stares down Wally on defense. Zoolander just laughs off the outburst from his ex-teammate. Moments later, on a Cavs break, KG throws Delonte down in a refusal to be posterized again this series. On the other end, back-to-back scores from KG, put Boston up two, 53-51.
Don’t jump – Truth headfakes the King, hits the three, 58-55 Boston.
During a timeout, Rob Lowe, the fat kid from Superbad and Antoine Walker are featured on the jumbotron. How’s that for a Big Three. Donnie Wahlberg could play the role of Rondo.
The Boston surge continues as Double-R soars in from the weakside for the block on the West drive.
Paul Pierce drives baseline, soars for the slam over Joe Smith.
Once again, Rondo drives past Delonte. The floater from Double-R puts Boston up 12, 71-59 with a minute remaining in the third.
Lebron on the right wing, pull up floater, first FG of the half. It looks like the King’s bid for 50 has been cut short. Overall, team Lebron was outscored 29-17 for the period, relinquishing control of the game. Jay-Z reclines.
KG and Rondo are running the two-man game to perfection. KG picks and pops and Rondo finds him for a clean jumper. Next time down court, Rondo resets the stalled C’s offense, drives from up top and finds KG for the least contested dunk of the game. After the subsequent defensive rebound, KG hands the ball off to Rondo and affectionately head-butts him. Cute, I guess.
Chasing a loose ball, Big Baby does what he does best, run around uncontrollably. While Wally beats Big Baby to the ball, Big Baby, unable to stop his momentum, falls on top of Zoolander. At least Wally’s chiropractor is happy.
Another lay-up from Rondo forces a Cleveland timeout. Double-R has been crucial for Boston with 18 points and 12 dimes thus far. Green +12.
King lowers the shoulder on PP – called for charge. After strong start, the King has faded, shooting just 2-7 thus far in the second half.
Back to back turnovers on sloppy passes brings the Cavs within 8 with a shade over 4 left in the game. Needing a bucket, KG calls for the ball from the left back, drives baseline for the slam in traffic. 86-76.
Double R stays aggressive, drives to the middle and hits another floater. Get comfortable on the sidelines Sam, you may be there for a while longer this postseason.
Delonte steal, lay-in brings the Cavs within 6. it aint over yet.
LeBron drive, 34 for the King, Celtics +5 with 1:15 left.
Cavs pick up fullcourt. You’d think an NBA team could break a press but it works as Ray Allen turns the ball over.
Sitting baseline, I’ve cringed hearing Delonte West crashing to the floor at least five times tonight. This latest crash came courtesy of Rondo who dropped West on another one of his drives to the tin. Delonte would go on to finish with 11 freethrow attempts in the second half. These two freethrows pull the Cavs within 4 with 45 seconds left.
Ensuing Celtics possession, KG misses fallaway jumper from left wing as the shotclock expires. Allen atones for his previous screw ups this game, tipping the missed shot out to KG to secure the offensive rebound and by extension the game.
Superbad throws up the Roc. Gino dances on the scoreboard. Back to Cleveland for Game 6.