May 16: Cavs 74, Celtics 69Posted by Inside Hoops
The AP reports: LeBron James scored 32 points—19 in the second half—and the Cavaliers forced a decisive and fitting finale to this home-sweet-home playoff series with a 74-69 victory Friday night over the Celtics, who have gone from regular-season road kings to postseason road kill… James, whose jump shot has mysteriously been missing in this series, made two key baskets midway through the fourth quarter to slow a Boston comeback, Wally Szczerbiak hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining and Joe Smith dropped two free throws with 14 seconds left as the Cavs moved the series back to the East Coast… Leading by nine at halftime, the Cavs quickly extended the lead to 51-36. But just when it appeared the Celtics were in major trouble, they responded behind Garnett, who scored eight points in a 13-0 spurt that pulled Boston within three. James finally ended Cleveland’s offensive lapse with a layup and the Cavs got a tip-in and fling-in from Anderson Varejao for a 59-50 lead entering the fourth. Garnett’s jumper pulled the Celtics within 65-60 before James scored on a drive, and the All-Star hit an off-balance 17-foot jumper to make it 69-60. Eddie House made a 3-pointer for Boston, but Szczerbiak, who missed his first five 3-pointers, finally got one to go down, giving Cleveland a 72-63 lead.
InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 39.7%, the Cavs just 32.9%. Both teams missed threes. The Cavs had 21-of-25 free throws, the Celtics just 11-of-13. The Cavs controlled the boards but only had 10 team assists.
For the Cavs, LeBron James (9-of-23) had 32 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists (but 8 turnovers) and 2 steals. Delonte West (4-of-7) had 10 points, no assists and 4 turnovers. Wally Szczerbiak (absurd 2-of-11) had 9, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (awful 3-of-11) had 7 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Joe Smith had 9 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.
For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett (11-of-21) had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Paul Pierce (lousy 5-of-15) had 16 points and 6 turnovers. Ray Allen (3-of-8) had 9 points and 6 rebounds. Eddie House (3-of-5) came off the bench for rare minutes to score 8.