LeBron gives Boston a reality check; Bad news for the No. 2 pick

By: 02.26.10

One sequence not only summed up Cavs/Celtics, it was also the moment an astute observer in the building would have started packing their stuff and heading for the parking lot: After Mo Williams had knocked down back-to-back threes midway through the fourth quarter, Ray Allen was looking to answer beyond the arc. But as the shot clock ran down and with nowhere to pass or dribble, Ray had LeBron stuck to his chest like Vicks VapoRub. He managed to get off a desperation brick, and on the other end, LeBron (36 pts, 7 rebs, 9 asts) casually skated past Ray to draw the defense and hit Williams (19 pts, 5 threes) for another triple. There was still five-plus minutes left in the game and the Cavs were only up 10 by that point, but you knew it was over … The 20-piecing was hard to watch if you’re a Celtics fans — your team looked old, slow, and although missing Paul Pierce obviously played a big role, they just didn’t seem ready to deal with the Cavs — but it was probably even harder to watch if you’re a Kevin Garnett fan. As Reggie Miller put it, KG (10 pts, 10 rebs, 5 asts) was “dragging his leg, no explosiveness, guys driving right by him.” We can’t remember how many times Cleveland had open lanes to the basket where nobody in green-and-white showed up to protect the rim or the help D was late … Shaq sprained his right thumb in the first half and didn’t return. That’s a big sprain. Not sure if you’ve ever seen Shaq’s hand up-close, but his thumb could snugly fit into a condom … At one point in the fourth, Boston rolled out a lineup of Rajon Rondo (19 pts, 11 asts), Nate Robinson, Tony Allen, Gooch Davis and ‘Sheed. We would pay movie theater prices for every episode of a reality show with those five living in the same house … Even thought it was just mop-up duty, it was great to see Leon Powe back on the court. He had four points and a couple of rebounds. Don’t expect much impact from Powe, however. Minutes will be tough for him to come by with Jamison, Varejao and Hickson playing the four, plus he has a lot of rust to shake off while everyone else is in midseason form … You can blame the Nuggets for falling back into that troubling habit of getting lazy and losing focus against Lottery teams, or you can give the Warriors credit for manning up and refusing to wilt. Either way, Denver/G-State was more competitive than it probably should have been … Thanks to injuries, Nellie had to roll with Devean George at small forward and let him guard Carmelo Anthony. Of course Denver went right to ‘Melo early, but George did the smartest thing you could probably do in his situation — he got ‘Melo mad. On Carmelo’s first touch, George raked his arm as he was shooting and the refs didn’t call anything. After that, ‘Melo was irritated and seemed thrown off. He wound up with 27 points on 12-of-21 shooting, but considering the circumstances he could’ve went for 40 … There was no rattling Chauncey Billups, though. Immediately after tip-off he drove right at Stephen Curry and scored on him, this first of his 37 points (13-19 FG). Curry didn’t get completely worked over; he put up 30 points and 13 dimes and hit some tough shots in Chauncey’s grill … Announcer line of the night from Kevin Harlan, deadpanning as Nene beasted Chris Hunter for a bucket: “Nene. (posting) Hunter defends. (scores) Tries to defend.” … In front of about 17 people at Conseco Fieldhouse, Brandon Jennings put up 18 points and 7 assists on the Pacers, while John Salmons scored 20 as the Bucks won their fifth straight. Jennings hit a step-back jumper with under two minutes to go that put Milwaukee up five, and while the Pacers got within one score a few times after that, they could never make the one shot they needed … They threw up some ugliness during that stretch, too. Troy Murphy jacked a three that somehow hit the backboard right under the rim, and Danny Granger alligator-armed a free throw that only caught the rim by a millimeter and drew boos from the home crowd … Hasheem Thabeet has been assigned to the D-League, specifically to the Dakota Wizards. Yes, he’s young and raw and has decent players on the depth chart in front of him, but damn: Thabeet is still the highest-ever draft pick asked to log D-League duty. Do you think he’ll ever pan out to be a solid starter in the League? … We’re out like Thabeet …

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