NBA: Boston secures 2-0 lead
By Jimmy Golen
BOSTON ó Paul Pierce and Ray Allen found their shooting touch.
LeBron James can only hope he left his in Cleveland.
Pierce scored 19 points, Kevin Garnett added 13 with 12 rebounds and Allen broke out of a seven-quarter scoring drought with 16 points to help the Boston Celtics beat the Cavaliers 89-73 on Thursday and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
James missed his first three tries from the field and finished with 21 points on 6-for-24 shooting.
In the series opener, he went 2-for-18 and missed his last six shots, including a layup to tie the game with 8.5 seconds left.
iIím a little shocked that heís 8-for-42, but this is what we work on. We work on trying to contain him,î said Pierce, who was 2-for-14 in Game 1. iLeBron is what makes them go. And if we can somehow control him, we control their team. And with the help of the guys around me, weíve been able to do that.î
Game 3 is Saturday night in Cleveland. The Cavaliers will need their crowd to pull them out of their funk because the Celtics are 6-0 in the playoffs in Boston, and they would have the homecourt advantage through the NBA finals.
iBeing down 0-2, thatís a tough hole to dig yourself out of,î James said, noting the Cavaliers lost the first two games to Detroit in last yearís playoffs but won four straight to reach the NBA finals.
iBut if we want to win the series, weíve got to do it. Weíve been in this situation before. Iíve got to let them know that Iím not frustrated.î
The message was not received even though James offered encouragement along the bench as the final seconds ticked off.
iHeís got to be frustrated,î teammate Wally Szczerbiak said. iHeís such a good player. He puts so much on his shoulders.î
James will have a more welcoming crowd for the next two games than the Boston fans who serenaded him with a chant of iOver-rated!î as he went 1-for-11 over the second and third quarters.
This time, the poor shooting was contagious: The Cavs shot 35.6 percent in the game, hitting just 11.8 percent in the second quarter as Boston turned an eight-point deficit into a nine-point lead. From early in the second quarter to early in the third, a span of 13:41, Boston outscored Cleveland 36-10.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 19 points for the Cavaliers, and reserve Anderson Varejao had 10 rebounds in 32 minutes after forward Ben Wallace went to the locker room just 3:40 into the game due to dizziness.
Wallace, who attributed the problem to allergies, sat on the bench for the second quarter and took some shots during halftime warmups but did not return to the game.
iAs bad as my head was hurting me, itís always hard to be out there and see your teammates struggling,î he said.
Wallace will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Cleveland, Cavaliers spokesman Tad Carper said.
Pierce and Allen (0-for-4 in Game 1) snapped out of whatever ailed them. Pierce did it right away with seven points in the first quarter, but Allen took a little more time.
The third member of Bostonís Big Three hadnít scored since hitting a 3-pointer with 8:48 left in the third quarter of Game 7 against Atlanta. Boston finished off the Hawks with just seven points from Allen, who shot 3-for-12 in the first-round finale.
He missed his first four shots Thursday but scored 11 points in the third quarter, including the first four of the second half as the Celtics scored 10 straight to take a 54-36 lead. The Cavaliers cut their deficit to 12 on Jamesí only basket of the quarter, but they spent most of the fourth quarter trailing by 20.
iIt was good to see Ray get it going,î said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who called the first several plays of the second half for Allen. iI thought that lifted everybody up on our team.î
Allen joked that he had forgotten what it felt like to make a basket.
iI think everybody was relieved,î said the 33-year-old All-Star who, like Garnett, arrived in an offseason overhaul. iIt was as if I was just traded here all over again.î
By Sarah Hall Salisbury Post Get ready, brothers and sisters, for that great getting-up out of your chairs this Friday.... read more