NBA Roundtable

Game Time: Cleveland vs Boston

In Game Log / Recap on October 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm

First Quarter

  • Cavs win the tip … inside to Shaq, KG helps inside, passes out to Varejao who knocks down the midrange jumper.
  • Ray Allen runs off an excellent screen from Perkins, out onto the right wing, catch and shoot from three, miss.
  • LeBron James and Kevin Garnett exchange baskets. James with a jump shot and Garnett with a drive out of the post over Varejao.
  • Varejao with a nice pump fake, Perkins bites, Varejao takes the bump but goes up too slowly after the bump and doesn’t get the foul …
  • Great ball movement from Cleveland resulting in an Anthony Parker three pointer … timeout Boston.

Cleveland jumps out to a 13-2 lead

  • Paul Pierce isolation on the right wing, drives on LeBron, blocked by James. Turnover. Second block of the game by James.
  • Shaq draws another double team in the post, nice pass to Varejao, he’s crowded quickly beneath the rim, misses … fastbreak Boston, Pierce layup.
  • Inside to Shaq again, right post, faces up, one dribble towards the middle, jump shot/hook over Perk, gets the bounce.
  • Rondo runs a pick and roll, tries to throw it backwards towards KG out on the perimeter, Mo Williams reads the pass, steal … fastbreak Cleveland, foul on the layup.
  • Pierce with the quick first step, blows by LeBron from 19 feet out on the right wing, into the middle, Shaq comes over from the weakside, blocks the shot … refs call a foul, don’t like that call. Looked like a good block. Pierce makes one of two at the FT line.

Cavs ahead 17-5 after five minutes … computer froze there … checking back in with three minutes to play at the end of the first quarter. Cavs lead 26-17.

  • Great recovery by LeBron to chase back downcourt to block Rondo’s fastbreak dunk. Third block.
  • James out on the left wing against Daniels, Sheed comes over to help, James cross court pass to Gibson, Gibson on the right sideline, drives baseline, layup.
  • Paul Pierce gets called for an offensive foul. Timeout.
  • James working on Daniels over on the left wing against the shot clock, dawdles, rises up, misses from 22 feet.
  • Shelden Williams is in the game … instead of Glen Davis.
  • Jamario Moon left wide open from three by Paul Pierce, Big Z finds him, misses from the top of the key (slightly to the left).
  • Marquis Daniels worms his way into the paint and hits the runner
  • Pierce dribbles up court, looks for a two for one, one two pass with Sheed, hand off, left wing quick jumper from 22 feet, misses
  • Boston gets a stop, rebound Rasheed, quick pass ahead, three pointer taken, missed, foul on Ilgauskas trying to keep Shelden Williams off the glass. Williams makes two FTs.
  • 14 seconds to play – Shaq and Mo check back in. Gibson and James. Ilgauskas too. Inbounds to Gibson, back to James, he dribbles up, clearout, James tries to make a spin move, Daniels picks his pocket. Steal.

Second Quarter

The Cavs lead 28-21 at the end of the first quarter

  • Good defensive pressure by Varejao on Wallace at the top of the key. Forces Wallace to pass backwards off the high post, hand off to Daniels, drives from the top of the key, travels.
  • LeBron and Powe having a good laugh over there on the bench. Powe still out injured, will be until the All-Star break.
  • Daniels dribbles up court, to Williams on the high post, no passes on, back to Daniels, Daniels jumps up, nowhere to go, passes, Moon deflects it, Daniels chases the ball into the backcourt, dribbles up, passes to House top of the key, catch and shoot from three, hits it!
  • Mo Williams dribbles upcourt and takes a quick three pointer, miss. Fifth straight miss for Cleveland.
  • Ray Allen posts up Gibson on the left block, spins baseline, hits the lay in. Terrible defense from Gibson.

Cavs lead 30-26 two minutes into the second. Boston on a 19-9 run.

  • Ray Allen runs the pick and roll with Williams, finds his big man cutting to the rim, foul. Williams knocks down two FTs. Two point game. Shelden Williams has played well.
  • Good defense by House to push Mo wide off the pick and pop with Big Z, Mo forced out, tries to pass, House deflects it out of bounds. Good defense.
  • Celtics 7-0 run to start the second quarter.
  • Ray Allen isolation on the right wing against Gibson, he backs him down, fallaway in the paint from 13 feet, misses.
  • Jamario Moon hoists up a quick shot on the left wing, misses. Cleveland is all over the place offensively. They need to keep one of Shaquille or LeBron on the floor at all times.
  • Cavs lineup — Ilgauskas + Varejao + Moon + Gibson + Williams
  • Celtics lineup — Sheed + Williams + Daniels + Ray + House
  • Mo Williams has looked out of sorts here in the second half. Forcing things, nothing coming easily and he’s not sure what else to do .. but to try and be the man. Timeout Cavs.
  • Ray Allen splits a pair at the line. One point game.

Cavs lead 30-29 with 9 minutes to play.

  • Mo Williams loses control on the drive, throws it away, fastbreak the other way, Ray up to Daniels, layup, stopped.
  • Varejao backs down Williams, turns middle, head fake (same move as before), Williams bites, foul. That move was oh so slow, bad reaction time by Williams. Varejao makes two FTs.
  • Ray Allen pick and pop with Wallace, back to Sheed, three pointer from the right wing, hits it over Parker’s outstretched hand. Tie game.
  • Varejao rattles home a 17 footer from the left elbow extended
  • Ray Allen dances on Parker, beats him off the bounce, to the cup, good recovery by Parker to contest the layup, Ray misses it.
  • Shaq checks back into the game
  • Shaq gets exposed out on the pick and roll at the top of the key, Ray Allen beats him easily, layup.

Five minutes to go. Cavs lead 38-37

  • Paul Pierce knocks down a jumper, gives Boston his first lead of the night. Nice ball movement out to Pierce on the wing for a three pointer.
  • Cavs post up Shaquille on the right box, he backs down Perk, no double team, misses the short shot.
  • Pierce draws a foul at the elbow. He goes to the line and makes a pair. Boston up three.

Boston has 17 bench points versus two (Gibson) for the Cavs.

  • Wow … beautiful pass by James to Jamario Moon for the alley oop dunk.
  • Shaq claims the defensive board (uncontested). Gotta love how he hammers the ball right to left as he catches the rebound.
  • Three seconds on the shot clock, sideline inbounds 40 feet out, inbounds to James, drives, three pointer, miss, Varejao keeps it alive … out to the perimeter, inside to Shaq, over-powers Perkins inside for the basket. Nice spin move baseline for the lay-in.
  • Another defensive rebound for Shaq … post up left block late in the shot clock, drives middle, sweeping hook shot, misses … fastbreak Boston, Ray Allen knocks down a three pointer off the right wing.
  • Parker curls off a down screen from Varejao, hits the floater in the lane. Nice shot.

Final two minutes in the quarter. It’s a tie game 44-44.

  • Cavs ball, great defense by Pierce to strip the ball from LeBron with only four seconds on the shot clock, James retrieves the ball, Pierce keeps reaching in and subsequently gives up the foul. James makes one of two.
  • Pierce throws a poor over the top pass to Garnett, Varejao almost steals it, Garnett gets his hands on it, passes it out to Perk, short jump shot from 13 feet, hits it.
  • Parker fires up a 17 footer off the dribble, misses badly.
  • The Celtics push it upcourt quickly, Ray Allen into the right corner, catch and shoot, hits it.
  • Final minute … Mo Williams has his pass deflected out of bounds. James bags a shot against the shot clock.
  • Paul Pierce snares an offensive rebound, checks the clock, the Celtics can keep it for the final shot. Timeout Doc Rivers.
  • Refs taking a long time to decide if James pervious shot left his hands before the clock. No, it didn’t. Ruled out. Celtics up four.
  • 15 seconds left – Pierce dribbles out the clock, isolation top of the key, dribbles, pump fake, Moon bites, Pierce travels, Moon hits Pierce on the arm. Turnover, travel.
  • 2.8 seconds to play – Technical foul on Garnett. The refs are talking about the previous foul, was the travel before the foul or vice versa? Foul on Moon, no travel.
  • Cavs miss the tech, Pierce gets two FTs and hits them.
  • This final 15 seconds is taking forever! Seriously, it’s been 3 minutes to play 15 seconds!
  • Gibson with a nice dribble move to shake free off his Celtics defenders at mid-court, gets off a great look from three just behind the line, misses it.


Great work by the Celtics to fight their way back into the game, and then into the lead, after a poor start to the evening.

Boston’s second unit gave them a huge advantage in the second quarter. That’s something to watch throughout the season for the Cavs, because that’s the lineup that killed them in the playoffs.

Third Quarter

The Celtics lead 51-45

  • Perkins gets a basket inside to open up the second half.
  • Inside to Shaq with 10 on the shot clock, quick pass out, turns into a contested jumper off the dribble against the shot clock from 22 feet, James hits it. Good defense.
  • Rondo drives into the paint, nice bounec pass to Perkins for the 14 footer along the baseline, hits it.
  • Good defense by Perk on Shaq on the low post, missed shot.
  • Ray Allen runs the pick and roll with Garnett, KG rolls to the rim, pass to KG, Shaq at the rim, Kevin thinks about it, then goes up strong for the dunk, Shaq nails him. Shaq took him out on that play. Nice hard foul. Garnett makes two at the stripe.

Boston leads 57-47 after 90 seconds

  • Mo Williams brings it up against strong ball pressure from Rondo, he still hasn’t passed, forced back out, from the right wing to the left wing, 10 on the shot clock, pick and roll, turnover. Excellent defense from Rondo.
  • Rondo passes inside to KG, Vgive and go, Rondo drives along the open baseline, layup.
  • Pick and roll with Shaq and James, LeBron takes the 23 footer, misses.
  • Garnett goes for the alley oop, doesn’t get the dunk but he hits the short shot over Varejao from 3 feet out.
  • Timeout

Boston is up 14 points. They lead 61-47. A 10-2 run by the Celtics to open the second half.

Cleveland’s offense looks shaky. They’re unbalanced. Lack the movement that they had last season. I think the Cavs are missing Delonte’s ball-handling.

  • Ray Allen misses the runner … Shaq claims another rebound.
  • Perk pushes Shaq off the post, miss, Garnett claims the rebound.
  • Defensive three seconds on Cleveland, Ray Allen hits the free throw.
  • Give and go with Garnett and Rondo again, Rondo goes middle this time, fouled before he gets up the shot. Sideline ball, pick and roll with KG, Rondo goes sideline, then picks up his dribble, KG cuts to the rim for the lob against Mo Williams but Shaq is close enough to make Rondo hesitate, out to Pierce, three pointer against the buzzer, nope. Air ball.
  • Nice pass inside by James from the top of the key to Shaq for the dunk. Perk got lost as he was looking to show off the ball in case James beat his man off the dribble.
  • Varejao knocks away the ball, turnover. Two straight turnovers for Boston.
  • Great effort from Varejao. Three Celtics standing still on the defensive glass, Varejao races in from the left wing, down under the rim, along the baseline, and gets to the ball before anyone else. Great effort.
  • Turnover again by Boston … three pointer from Parker, nails it.
  • Timeout Doc Rivers. Good timeout, a play or two too late? The C’s were clearly unraveling there.

Boston leads 62-52. We’re near the midway point in the third quarter now.

The Celtics and the Cavs were #1 and #2 in three point percentage last season.

  • Offensive foul on Pierce, moving screen, four straight turnover. They now have 10 turnovers. Four in the first, two in the second, and four already in the third.
  • Anthony Parker forces a fadeaway J off the dribble going hard right to the baseline, contested, misses badly. Terrible shot to take. Ray Allen gets fouled on a layup attempt from the ensuing fastbreak, he makes both FTs.
  • LeBron hasn’t looked comfortable offensively here in the third.
  • Rondo misses an 18 footer
  • James dribbles in on KG (switch), passes out to Parker in the right corner, decent look, miss.
  • Perkins offensive foul. Another turnover. Fifth of the quarter.
  • Mo Williams hits his second shot of the game. He’s been very poor tonight.
  • KG with a nice shoulder shake and turnaround J out of the low post (left block) over Varejao.
  • LeBron James out of control, drives hard, Rondo tries to draw the charge but doesn’t get to the spot in time.
  • Varejao forces a drive against the shot clock, misses the sweeping/rolling shot across the paint. Rebound Pierce, his 8th board tonight.
  • Mo Williams knocks down the running 14 foot jumper off the pick and roll

Final three minutes — Boston leads 68-58

  • Great hustle by Rondo to beat Mo Williams to the offensive rebound, off the Pierce missed three, out to Ray, Ray Allen bags a long two.
  • Turnover, steal, Ray Allen coasts in for a dunk, James from behind, blocks the shot again … wow! I thought Allen was free and clear there.
  • Garnett stuck on James on the switch again, right corner, isolation, James thinks about the drive, then squares up and knocks down the jumper.
  • KG leaks out off that made basket, Cavs behind the play, pass up to KG, fouled hard. Garnett makes two.
  • James top of the key against Daniels, quick pass to the wing, jump shot, miss. Garnett pulls down his seventh rebound, starting to take over on the glass here in the third.
  • Lob pass to Moon, misses the mark, turnover. Was that Mo Williams? Bad pass whoever it was.
  • Pierce throws the lookaway to Wallace as he cuts to the rim off the pick and roll. Foul. Don’t see Sheed roll to the rim off the three point line very often. Wallace splits a pair at the line.

Final minute — Celtics up 11

  • James drives by Daniels easily … poor defense. Daniels wasn’t moving his feet. Too easy. Foul. James misses the and one, rebound Shelden Williams.
  • LeBron leaks out, long pass out to James, House races back, wraps up James to stop the dunk. LeBrom makes the FTs.
  • James has looked more dangerous since Shaq checked out of the game here in the third quarter.
  • Wallace misses a three pointer over Moon, good contest. Great job by Rondo to keep that offensive rebound alive, bounces off Z’s legs. Out of bounds. Boston ball.
  • 8 seconds to play — three seconds on the shot clock, Rondo finds a cutting Williams on the baseline inbounds, Williams takes an ugly drive and loses control of the ball. Turnover.
  • 5 seconds to play — Cavs inbound, Parker to James at his own three point line, Daniels tries to defend him full court, James blows by him easily … Daniels doesn’t have the footspeed to defend James in that scenario, Boston should have doubled James with the guy who was defending the inbounds pass .. James races upcourt and hits the runner.

Fourth Quarter

Boston lead 72-65

  • Mike Brown keeps James in teh game this time. He doesn’t want the Celtics second unit destroying his team again, not when his side is down 7 points to start the fourth.
  • Rasheed Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas trade jumpers. Z misses his 16 footer whilst Wallace nails his three pointer.
  • 10 point Boston lead
  • LeBron James faces up on Daniels over on the right wing and buries the long jumper.
  • Pick and roll with Wallace at the top of the key, ball swung to the left corner to Daniels, three pointer, hits it!
  • Cavs hit a pair of FTs
  • Pick and pop between House and Wallace, Sheed hits it from the right wing. Is that his fourth triple?
  • Ilgauskas hits a three pointer from the left corner. Boston is +4 on made three pointers tonight.
  • Turnover Boston, Shaq checks back in. For Varejao. So we have Shaq and Ilgauskas here. Interesting.

Boston leads 80-71 after three minutes

  • Anthony Parker with a nice right handed drive from the left wing, across the paint, jump hook shot off the bounce, close but no good. Good take by Parker with the clock ticking down.
  • Timeout
  • Rasheed Wallace has been a game changer offensively. Cleveland can’t defend him out on the perimeter.
  • Kendrick Perkins is in the game alongside Wallace now. Daniels, House and Ray are the perimeter trio.
  • Cleveland have Shaq, Z, James, Parker and Gibson. Big lineup.
  • Gibson with weak defense off the inbounds pass. Too easy. House was 8 feet away from him when he caught the ball. It was a good screen but it was more lackadaisical defense.

Boston is +18 in bench points, +15 from behind the arc, +9 in fastbreak points

  • Kevin Garnett checks into the game as Cleveland hits a pair of FTs. We have a seven point game here with eight minutes to play.
  • Did the commentators just say that Pierce hasn’t scored in the second half? I think they did, yes they did. Pierce led Boston (all first half scorers?) with 13 points in the first half.
  • James rifles into the paint but has his runner slapped out of bounds. Good drive by James, great help by Perk and nice block by KG from the side.
  • Turnover for Cleveland
  • Garnett pump fakes Ilgauskas at the top of the key, drives tentatively, finds Perk for the 17 footer, miss.
  • Garnett whistled for the hold as he tries to defend Ilgauskas in the post. Big Z makes both FTs. Five point game.

Boston lead 80-75 with just under seven minutes to play

  • Rondo takes a quick shot over Shaq coming off the pick and roll, misses horribly. Brick.
  • Great pass by Rondo to a trailing Garnett after slowing the break, slam dunk, nope, KG misses the thunderous dunk.
  • Pierce hesitates on the jumper from the right elbow with James trailing him, nice hand off/screen from Perk, misses the opportunity to shoot, passes back to Garnett, misses the jumper over Z. Tough shot over Z’s length.
  • Paul Pierce draws the charge on LeBron. Turnover. Nice D.

Midway point in the fourth quarter. Same score, 80-75 Boston.

  • Ilgauskas has done a nice job defending Garnett here. Cleveland’s size is making it difficult for KG to use his quickness advantage offensively … Perk’s + Rondo’s lack of a jumper is also hurting the spacing … Boston needs to push the ball in transition more, they can get a lot of joy there with Garentt’s pace.
  • Boston should bring back Rasheed Wallace to free up the paint for Garnett to drive the ball against Ilgauskas. Perkins is allowing Shaq to hang back inside.
  • Offensive foul from Pierce as he fights with James for the ball. Didn’t see exactly what happened there. James gets FTs, loose ball foul then, James splits a pair.
  • LeBron has 28 points on 9-17 shooting from the field and 8-11 shooting from the line
  • Lovely wrap around pass from Pierce off the drive to Perkins for the easy deuce inside. Great spin move on the drive by Pierce too. Mo Williams fouled Perk, but not well enough to stop the shot attempt.
  • Shaq posts up, turns middle, misses the jump hook. Shaq made his first three shots but he’s only been 2-8 since then and at least one of those baskets was a wide open dunk. Oh the other was a baseline spin and lay in.
  • LeBron drills another jumper
  • Ray Allen leads Boston with 16 points … Ray gets caught up in the paint, forced to pass out, Perkins with a 17 footer along the baseline against the shot clock (had to take it), miss.
  • James carries the ball, turnover. Timeout.
  • Doug Collins is calling for Rasheed Wallace now too. He thinks Sheed’s ability to space the floor would help Boston’s offense out.

Boston lead 83-79 with four plus minutes to play

  • Wallace checks in … Pierce hits a jumper (his first basket of the second half) after Shaq fails to defend the pick and roll effectively.
  • Haha, wow! Shaq rolls to the rim off the pick and roll, the passer finds him, Garnett is waiting there, tries to block the shot, Shaq tries to dunk over KG, he slams right through KG and knocks Garnett out of the way like he’s a child. Foul on KG.
  • Rasheed Wallace has a three pointer rim in and out after the pick and pop with Pierce.

Three minutes to play. Boston lead 85-79.

  • Parker takes a heavily contested 22 footer off the dribble from the left wing, misses. Terrible shot.
  • Shaq is on Garnett now. KG isolation on the left baseline, he drives right to the middle, spins back left, fadeaway one hander off the glass with Shaq in his face. Whew … great defense by Shaq.
  • Shaq defended Garnett well when he was with the Miami Heat during Boston’s title winning campaign. Garnett tried to post up KG instead of starting further out, making Shaq’s life easier.
  • Garnett 20 feet out on the left sideline, Shaq shows him the middle, Garnett flies by him, nice help by Mo Williams, Garnett throws the pass instead of taking the pull up with Shaq on his heels, LeBron plays the passing lanes and picks off the pass … breakaway, fouled by Pierce (fifth foul). James makes both FTs.

87-83 with two minutes to play, Boston lead.

  • Drive and kick by Pierce to Wallace, miss, Shaq rebounds the ball, Rondo steals it, dribbles out, Ray Allen is wide open, three pointer, miss, Rondo rebounds, short shot, miss, Cleveland finally gets the ball. Wow!
  • The Cavs miss a long jump shot, Pierce claims the rebound. He dribbles up slowly, high screen and roll with Garnett (Shaq) 35-40 feet out from the rim, Pierce drives by Shaq easily with a crossover dribble, dribbles in towards the foul line, hits the jumper.
  • Timeout

Boston leads 89-83 with one minute left to play.

  • Haha, great clip of Danny Ainge signalling from the sideline to foul Shaq.
  • Cleveland inbound it in the frontcourt, over to LeBron, defended by Daniels, pick and roll, Sheed  forces him high and wide, Daniels recovers, James drives, missed pass. Turnover.
  • 53 seconds — Boston ball. They take it full court. Rondo dribbles up, to Pierce, he milks the clock. Isolation against Moon, pick and roll now, Varejao on the switch, good defense but Pierce hits the jumper over him anyway.
  • Great point by Doug Collins on Pierce — he was struggling for most of the second half but stuck with it and came up with the two big plays to finish off the game.

This is over.


I’m starting to think that the Cavs should trade Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a quality wing player (Stephen Jackson?). Then switching Anderson Varejao to sixth man status and play LeBron James as their starting power forward.

I’m not sure their defense or offense is going to be good enough to beat elite sides in the playoffs with Shaquille O’Neal playing alongside Varejao for major minutes, and with Ilgauskas backing up Shaq. Not sure how much value Big Z has in that role especially if he’s playing the majority of his minutes without LeBron.

It’s still early … and nothing is definitive yet … but that’s the direction I’m leaning in.

  1. Watching Parker and Moon on the floor together reminded me of why the Raptors had the softest wing defense in the league last year.

    Is Moon trying to make this his last NBA contract?

    Parker played great (probably too many minutes), watching him bring the ball up the floor for the Cavs reminded me of what the Raptors had to do when they didn’t have a real point guard on the floor last year!

    LeBron is still better than the Raptors though!

  2. Hey Brothersteve,

    I don’t think the Cavs are that good of a situation for Jamario Moon. He was better off in Toronto and in Miami where he could play more minutes, and where his positive were more necessary pieces of the puzzle (both squads desperately needed athleticism + rebounding from the wing).

    Jamario Moon isn’t a good enough shooter or good enough off the ball to be a quality role player offensively next to LeBron. Moon is good enough defensively to be a very good secondary wing defender alongside LeBron (LeBron takes the tougher mark, Moon takes the easier wing). But Moon is not good enough to take the tough mark, which hurts the Cavs defense when they want to switch LeBron to the PF spot or just give LeBron some rest (either on the bench, or while playing by letting him take the weaker offensive player).

    Those limitations will keep his minutes down and leave Jamario with a smaller role in Cleveland than he had in his previous two stops.

    On another note, Jamario Moon is a solid rotation caliber player in the NBA. His NBA future shouldn’t be, and isn’t, in question.

    Reminiscent of the Raptors

    Haha, yes! That’s what worries me about their LeBron at PF idea.

    Their perimeter trio — Mo Williams + Anthony Parker + Jamario Moon — looks very weak when facing an elite side like the Celtics or the Magic in the playoffs.

    We’ve seen Moon and Parker cut apart by the likes of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Vince Carter many times in the past. That has to worry the Cavs.

    LeBron James

    LeBron is a freak of nature … it’s almost unfair how good that guy is.

    It’s terrible that the Cavs haven’t been able to give him a better supporting cast yet. He’s one legit second option away from winning a bunch of titles.

    The Cavs should have gone all out for Vince Carter last season. What was it? They wouldn’t give up JJ Hickson? I like Hickson, I like him a lot … but Vince would have made the Cavs the frontrunner for three straight title runs before his contract ran out. They’d almost definitely won at least one of those titles, and possibly 2-3. I’d trade Hickson for that.

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