Tough Road for the Celtics

05.11.08 10 years ago 43 Comments
IMAGE DESCRIPTIONHanging his head…

Forget about the 66 wins and the postseason blowouts at the Garden; we’re no longer taking the Celtics seriously as championship contenders until they win at least one playoff road game. Losing three in Atlanta to a sub-.500 squad was bad enough, then last night KG and crew got torn apart in Cleveland despite LeBron again not having his best stuff. With so many playoff-tested vets on the roster (Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Cassell, Posey, P.J. Brown), the C’s really don’t have any excuse for the way they’ve been playing away from Boston … The Cavs attacked early and never looked back, flirting with a 20-piecing throughout the first quarter and eventually winning by 24. LeBron got things started by throwing down a breakaway two-hander (taking off from the dotted) and hitting a three in opening minutes, but overall he continued to struggle with his shot. He finished with 21 points on 5-for-16 shooting, but played a good floor game, adding 8 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. On one of those rejections ‘Bron got high enough on that he actually cuffed he ball after pinning Rajon Rondo‘s shot on the glass … Posey picked up a flagrant foul when he went Raja Bell-on-Kobe on LeBron’s neck, causing a team-wide staredown that earned techs for Posey and Anderson Varejao. Even though LeBron oversold the horse-collar to get the point across — or maybe it was genuine, but he’s the one always talking about “I’m built for this” and reminding us he’s 6-8, 260 — it was still the right call … Delonte West (21 pts, 5 rebs, 7 asts) looked like Tony Parker with a better outside jumper (4 threes), getting into the lane for floaters and running the Cavs’ offense smoothly. Judging by how he’s been throughout this postseason, however, look for Delonte to play horribly his next time out … After some doubt as to whether he’d even play, Ben Wallace started and put up 9 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. He even made a free throw, so we’ll assume he’s all right in the head. Question: If Wallace wins another ring with Cleveland, does that make him a Hall of Famer? … While the C’s can’t win on the road, the Pistons pulled off the most impressive road win of any team in this year’s playoffs by beating Orlando in Game 4. Playing without Chauncey Billups (hamstring), coming off a Game 3 blowout loss, and having to overcome a double-digit halftime deficit yesterday, Detroit turned the tide with a 15-0 run in the third quarter, then won the game on Tayshaun Prince‘s running hook with about 9 seconds left … With the score tied and 44 seconds showing on the clock, Jameer Nelson went to the line and split a pair. Rasheed missed a turnaround J on the other end, but Antonio McDyess came up with a huge offensive rebound and got it to Prince, who took Hedo off the dribble and scored over Dwight Howard (8 pts, 12 rebs). Hedo, who was unstoppable in the fourth quarter and finished with 20 points for the night, got the ball with a chance to win the game 1-on-1 against Prince but missed a layup. Even Hedo admitted afterwards that he held the ball too long (Stan Van Gundy also took the blame for not coming up with a better play), which looked even worse considering Detroit had just taken the lead on a possession where they moved the ball and ended up with two quality looks at a game-winner … Rodney Stuckey (6 pts, 3 asts) and Lindsey Hunter (8 pts, 3 asts) did good enough in Chauncey’s absence, but Rip Hamilton was the one who really stepped up. He scored 32 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws that tied it up in the final minute … Didn’t we just say yesterday that we couldn’t think of any Pistons who flop regularly? There was a play in the fourth quarter where Rip drove baseline and swung his elbow at Keyon Dooling‘s face, to which Keyon responded with an attempted shove — that missed, but Rip still went flying to the floor. Dooling got called for a tech … So it looks like Mike D’Antoni will be the new coach for the Knicks, a move that’s been universally panned by every analyst we’ve heard so far. It appears that without giving much thought to the makeup of the roster, the Knicks just threw a bunch of money at the most recognizable name on the market. So are we sure Isiah‘s not still calling the shots here? Wasn’t Donnie Walsh supposed to avoid things like that? Then again, perhaps Walsh is planning on overhauling the current roster into something that more fits the D’Antoni style, but that’s gonna be hard to pull off with the contracts he’d have to dump on other teams. And seeing as Billy King and Billy Knight aren’t around anymore, it’s going to be even tougher than before … We’re out like Eddy Curry‘s preference …

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