24, Presented by Jack Bauer: Cavs-Celtics

 

Actually, this is probably a fair matchup.

What better way to celebrate Selection Sunday than talk pro hoops? Just a quick thought on the Tourney, though: how in the hell did Georgetown land a 3 seed? A 3 seed?! REALLY!? No, I’m just kidding. I have no clue. Congrats on a great season, JT3.

So here’s the setup. The league-leading Cavs have the Celts in Cleveland with both teams at relative full strength. The Kingsmen, as you know, are missing one 350-pound, third greatest center of all-time, but we’re going to discount him… mainly ‘cause he has tits. Shaq will be back in 4 weeks.

Meanwhile, Boston, currently 10 games back and in the fourth seed, is still considered a title contender by the dumb, blind and 10-year-olds with KG posters above their beds. I say the run – all two years of it – is over, and aim to write something of a eulogy with this post.

We pick up at the start of the second half – hence the title. We’re talking 24 minutes, people. Stay with me. And as far as I know, Jack Bauer is not involved. 54-43, Cavs.

________________

Third Quarter

Re: LeBron James has no post game. Wrong. He has a developing post game. LeBron has a go-to move where he backs his smaller guy into the paint, spins to his right, swings his elbow into the dude’s ribs and floats a fall-away baby hook. It’s a thing of beauty, and far more graceful in HD than in print. 

10:02: Here’s the thing about The King that bothers me… He’s an A student at the Dwyane Wade Institute of Overreacting. Kevin Garnett slaps LeBron in the face on a drive to the hoop. Twenty Three hits the deck like he’s been Jay Eff Kayed. This guy’s 6’9”, 270. He shouldn’t flinch at a bulldozer.

8:46: Bron Bron’s still squinting hard and rubbing his eye. I used to do this after missing layups, only I didn’t have a two-handed tomahawk to make me suddenly feel better. 60-56, Boston.

After LeBron made a fallaway three-pointer with the shot clock expiring in the first quarter.

I’ve been on the record comparing KG to Heather Mills. I take that back. Garnett is Heather Mills with a jump shot. He maintains the right knee is healthy, but he favors it when he glide-hobbles from side to side. On D, he takes these long, ginger side strides to stay in front of his defender. I’d say he’s 11 in big dog years – not crapping himself yet and can still chase the ball. But the back wheels are shot and he wets the carpet once a week.

3:30: Anderson Varejao bangs for a loose ball under his own basket and finds LeBron for a wide open 18-footer. Swish. On the other end, Rajon Rondo finds Rasheed Wallace in his natural habitat – 24-feet out on the wing and either waiting for a kickout pass or a hot dog. Whichever comes first. He clanks a three, conveniently allowing me an opening to tell you why Varejao and ‘Sheed are polar opposites.

Varejao: Zero discernible talent other than rebounding knack; chippy defender who busts his ass on both ends; quick enough to switch on pick and rolls; always hustles and is always around the basket to get garbage points

Wallace: All the discernible talent in the world and special knack for not giving a s***; defender in name only who busts his ass when there’s a check on the line; quick enough to switch on pick and rolls 20 pounds ago; hustle? What hustle?; and is always around the arc to take an ill-advised three.

Also, ‘Sheed is making $20 million over the next two years. Danny Ainge just poured himself another shot of Jack.

Moments before Andy punched 'Sheed in the balls.

Fourth Quarter

Coach Mike Brown to Lisa Salters about LeBron’s bout with death: “I knew he’d be okay.” Translation: “LeBron is both a wuss and my meal ticket.” 80-72, Cavs.

10:30: Glen Davis, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson, ‘Sheed, and Michael Finley are on the court for the Celtics. That’s a team I’d go to war with, provided “war” means “The Sweet 16.” Finley, in particular, is a corpse. He’s 37-year-old and the Spurs – a team that’s trying to make a playoff push – said see-yah. Now the Celtics expect him to fill that Gary-Payton-With-2006-Heat role, in which a former star who was never a particularly good three-point guy to begin with stands on the perimeter and jacks up threes.

Hey, Doc Rivers: I’ll do that for free. Seriously. No charge. 84-72, Cavs.

8:20: Doc sends in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rondo. Pierce is inexplicably at the power forward spot because the Cavs are playing Antawn Jamison, LeBron and Jamario Moon up front. Still, nobody can run with a small Cavs lineup, especially a 32-year-old Pierce. Regardless, now the Big 3 ½ are on the floor… That’s Pierce, Allen, Rondo, plus KG’s arms and torso.

7:14: Play-by-play man Mike Breen as Cleveland runs the C’s out of the building: “And the lead has ballooned just like that to 17 as the Cavs get a standing ovation.” So that was effective.

6:54: Boston scores its first two points in 7 minutes on a Garnett turnaround, baby hook in the post. Question for you prompted by a LaDainian Tomlinson Nike commercial last timeout: What’s turned faster? Last night’s bottle of merlot, LT’s career, Maria Bartiromo’s career or the Big 3 Era Celtics? I’m going with Maria, but only because the Hilson family had her pegged as the next Sophia Loren. Oops.

Bartiromo: One-time vixen.

Color man Jeff Van Gundy: “I’m not going to set the over/under of LeBron James’ weight at 260… I’m setting the bar at 265.” Coach Jeff: mastering “Riley Ball” defense, not the concept of over/under.

3:32: Remember how Coach Calipari’s Memphis team couldn’t shoot free throws two years ago, and every Dick Vitale said this would come back to bite ‘em in the ass come crunch time? Yeah, that’s Cleveland. And Jamison’s stripe performance is the 32 percent elephant in the room. Seriously, he’s shooting 32 percent from the line in March. Two for eight today. And he’s hitting 42 percent this month from deep. Go figure.

2:16: Ray Allen buries another three in transition. Straight net. I’m scraping for Celtics positives – this game’s over – but here’s one: Ray Ray can play till he’s 40 in the Steve Kerr/Aging Reggie Miller role. Great crunch time scorer with a stroke straight out of the “Better Basketball” vid. He’s streaky, but he can be your go to guy even as KG and Pierce go the way of the Plymouth Prowler.

1:00: Just so you know how we got here: LeBron. He scored 24 in the second half on the back of his patented put-my-head-down-and-barrel-to-the-rim finesse move… for which Pierce, Rondo and Daniels had no answer. 104-93, Cavs. It’s over. The game, yeah, but I was referring to the Celtics’ title hope. And it’s not like you can accuse me of overreacting to a meaningless game in mid March. 

 – Robbie

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