NBA Playoffs: What Was That? An Exhibition?
I’m not sure what that was last night, but I don’t think it was playoff-level basketball we were watching. I am, of course, talking about Game One of the Celtics/Cavaliers series that got off to a whimper instead of the expected bang. Oh, the game was close but it wasn’t because great basketball was being played.
In fact, it was just the opposite — and boy, it was pretty ugly.
Of the four marquee names in this series — Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Paul Pierce and Ray “Jesus” Allen — only KG showed up to play. The rest of these big-named players combined to shoot 4-36 from the floor.
Four for thirty-six.
And this is from three of the best players in the Eastern Conference.
Not only were Pierce, Allen, and LeBron shooting with their eyes closed, Pierce and James combined for 16 turnovers; 10 of them from the King. Because of his sterling ball-handling, James almost had a quadruple-double — 12 points (on 2-18 shooting), 9 assists, 9 rebounds and 10 turnovers.
Fill that stat book, LeBron.
However, if not for the stylings of the Big Ticket, Boston would’ve found themselves on the losing end regardless of King James’ relative ineffectiveness (although he DID have 9 assists and 9 rebounds). Answering the critics who say he disappears in crunch time, KG put the team on his back and scored the last two Celtics baskets, securing the Game 1 victory while informing the Cavaliers they may want to change the way they defend him in Game 2 and beyond.
As a basketball fan, it’s nice to see Garnett get some well-deserved love for his play down the stretch but man, if the level of play doesn’t improve for both teams, this series might set the NBA back a few years in relation to entertaining television. However, like a true solider with no rooting interest, I stayed until the end of this mess just to see which team would actually demonstrate some level of execution.
Thank goodness for Kevin Garnett — but Boston fans should also include Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo and Sam Cassell in their list of thank yous.
I do have one question for Mike Brown: Do you really want Wally Szczerbiak shooting so much in the first quarter? I mean, he’s known as a shooter, but to see him open the game bricking jump shot after jump shot is not the best way to get your team into the flow, is it?
Perhaps I’m missing something — much like Wally did in the first quarter.