Game 5: Celtics shock Cavs with 32-point winPosted by Inside Hoops
The AP reports:
Ray Allen scored 25 points, Rajon Rondo scored all of his 16 in the second half and the Celtics, once thought too old to challenge for another title, beat James and the Cavs 120-88 in Game 5 on Tuesday night to move within one win of knocking the league’s top team from the playoffs.
Paul Pierce added 21 and Kevin Garnett 18 for the Celtics, who handed the Cavs their worst home playoff loss in history and can end Cleveland’s season with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night…
LeBron James, on the verge of an expected trip into free agency on July 1, had an atrocious game. He scored 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting, a startling outing for the 25-year-old who has been playing with a sprained elbow. He refused to use his injury as an excuse…
Rondo, coming off a 29-point, 18-rebound, 13-assist performance in Game 4, was held without a point in the first half as the Cavs concentrated their defense on stopping the point guard from penetrating into the paint. He finally got loose in the third, scoring 12 as the Celtics opened a 21-point lead…
James missed his first seven shots before he got loose on a leak-out dunk with 6:15 left in the third.
The Cavs led 29-21 when, with Rondo on the bench, Boston’s Big Three of Allen, Garnett and Pierce did all the scoring in a 16-0 run that put the Celtics ahead by eight.
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal reports:
The Cavs trailed just 50-44 at halftime, but that changed at the onset of the third quarter. Allen came out and made two consecutive 3-point shots to quickly double the lead to 12 points.
With Allen heating up, Brown sent guard Anthony Parker out on him and put Mo Williams back on Rondo. Rondo went directly at Williams to the tune of eight quick points before Brown called a timeout. After the timeout, Williams disappeared for the remainder of the third quarter, along with the Cavs’ hopes for winning the game.
”We have to do a better job with our team defense,” Brown said. ”Mo had gotten beaten a couple times, but there were a couple of times when we didn’t play the right defense behind him.”
The blame is not solely on Williams; there’s plenty to go around. After Tuesday’s game, there has to be a question about James’ health. After enduring a miserable Game 4, if he were true to form, he would return to inflict damage on the Celtics in Game 5. That wasn’t the case.