Cavs beat the grumpy old Celtics 104-93

Anybody can smack a guy in the face going to the basket or land their three hundred pound frame directly on an opposing three point shooter just as he squares up to the basket.  It doesn’t take Kevin Garnett’s gum smacking towel waving intensity to instill effort like that.  And if I’m a Boston Celtics’ fan, I hope LeBron James was right…I hope my team’s bored.  Because that’s how their playing, and that’s how they looked against the Cavs on Sunday.  They looked bored, but what’s worse than that, they looked like a team that now ‘fakes effort’ through their series of lazy fouls, hacks, and cheap shots.  This wasn’t a Detroit team of the late 80′s type effort that doesn’t allow easy lay-ups on defense.  It was the effort of a team that’s no where near as good as they were two years ago, a step slower on defense, not as talented off the bench, and extremely frusterated about knowing all that to be true.  Their version of ‘intesity’ now looks like that 40-year old guy in your rec league that knows he can’t keep up with the 20 year old kid, so he grabs his jersey on defense, elbows him for rebounds, and slaps at his hand every time he shoots, and calls it playing tough D.

Despite only leading by 6 at halftime, this one never really felt close to me.  And I heard the post game talk about a playoff level intensity on the court today, but count me as a guy that didn’t see it.  Anderson Varejao played like it was a playoff game, but he always does and his 15 points in the first half en route to 17 and 10 for the game keyed the first half charge.  He was the best ‘big’ on the court today, and that includes JJ Hickson’s boy-hood hero Kevin Garnett.  And memo to KG, JJ’s all grown up and not really feeling you as much these days.  I like seeing Hickson not take that garbage from Garnett in the first half, and in 23 minutes of work Hickson’s 12 points were solid though he only shot 4 of 10 from the field.  And in the second half, after being forced to watch the most ridiculous halftime piece about how KG blocks shots on dead ball situations, LeBron James was equally ridiculous in a different way.  Scoring 24 points and finishing with 30 -8 - 7 was no surprise, but the post game reasons why the Cavaliers won from Jon Barry were, even though it shouldn’t be.  Barry’s reason for the Cavaliers win was ‘the play of Anderson Varejao.’  And I’m by no means piling on Barry, because I’m guilty of it too sometimes.  LeBron James has come to a point in his career when a stat line that reads 30 - 8 - 7 raises no eyebrows, and its almost too repetitive to say every game that the key to the win was LeBron James.  But he is the key to pretty much every win, and he was again today, no disrespect intended to the best big man on the floor today.  

I’d like to say that Mo snapped out of it today, and he almost did, but he didn’t really.  Shot it 5 of 13 from the field and finished with 14 points 6 assists and 3 turnovers.  Not bad, but kinda average.  If Antawn didn’t miss 6 FT’s (2 of 8) his night would have been better than average but he was 1 for 7 from three and finished with 15 points on 6 of 17 fromt the field.  I hope he doesn’t think that since he replaced Ben Wallace at the PF position from a year ago he has to continue to shoot FT’s like him now that he’s a Cav.  Bend your knees boss.  From Mike Brown’s seat, I’m liking more and more just giving LeBron the ball all the time and letting him be the PG.  I’m of the opinion now that Delonte, Jamison, Hickson, and Andy might be the best four to run alongside LBJ with Shaq on the shelf.  And I like Jamario Moon getting the 20 minutes he got at the wing spot as well, and as the playoffs approach, I’m thinking more and more that Mo may be best suited at the off guard spot when he gets the minutes he does.  And I also don’t have too much of a problem with cutting back some of those minutes – along with AP’s – and divying them up as added time for both West and Moon. 

Getting back to Garnett, I’ve been holding back on the joining the KG bashing party that’s erupted around NBA blogs in the last few years.  As a ninth grader, I met KG – playing on an AAU team with one of LBJ’s friends ironically enough – and I always rooted for him.  He was a senior in HS at the time about to be drafted, and he talked to our team, shook all our hands, and even complimented LBJ’s friend’s hat.  More on that some other time I guess, but I now officially can’t stand the way KG plays.  Took about 15 years for me to say that, but I’m glad his Celtics team no longer poses a threat to these Cavaliers…because I don’t think they do.  Not this year at least.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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