The Celtics beat the Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals 94-85 to win the series. Although it was hard to believe because the Cavs had the best record in the league and the Celtics went 17-17 to finish the season as the four seed in the Eastern Conference, Boston proved to have the better team. Rajon Rondo ate up Mo Williams, Kevin Garnett swallowed Antawn Jamison, and Tony Allen turned out to be better than anyone the Cavs had coming off the bench. The suffocating Celtics defense forced LeBron James into a near quadruple double with nine turnovers and they spooked Anderson Varejao so badly that he couldn’t make a four footer. As surprising and difficult it is to say because 82 games told us otherwise, the Celtics were superior to the Cavaliers. Unfortunately for the Cavs they weren’t used to losing and it showed in their disinterested, heartless play at the end.
With time ticking down and the team down by nine points with around a minute left, the Cavs were content to let the Celtics dribble out the clock rather than foul to see if they could pull off a miracle. By not trying, the Cavs were guaranteeing themselves a loss. By trying to win, they maybe had a .01% chance of winning, but at least it was a better chance than what they gave themselves by not fouling. For as much of a basketball historian as LeBron claims to be, I guess he hasn’t seen the video of Reggie Miller scoring eight points in 11 seconds. With their season coming to an absolute end, how would it hurt them to foul Kendrick Perkins, go for steals, and try to bomb threes to come close? The only place it would hurt them was in their egos.
See, the Cavs were too used to goofing around in pregame, dancing during games, and coasting in the fourth quarter to endure the humiliation of grasping for any chance of hope. Instead, they were more content to save face rather than let the Celtics run them around the court. Not only did the Cavs not foul, they didn’t go for a defensive rebound, and then Mo Williams had no urgency to try and shoot a three at the other end when they finally did get the ball. It was truly upsetting to watch them act too cool and cocky to try hard and have a prayer at pulling off the miracle. The Cavs didn’t want to give the Celtics the satisfaction of seeing them be desperate even though they just were embarrassed over a long series.
I criticized the Cavs fans who stuck around until the end of Game 5 and booed the team saying they should have had more faith in their team and supported them rather than desert them. Maybe those fans were booing because they saw something that night that I hadn’t seen. Maybe they knew the Cavs were so used to winning that their only way of coping with embarrassment was to feign indifference. I’m glad the Celtics served them a dose of humility.
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