The Algebra of Precocious Talent: C’s orchestrate past one-man-band Cavs
Except for that oft-intimidating “dark alley” (the foul line), the 94’ x 50’ “neighborhood” of Mr. James bore a striking resemblance to his “Zone” for some stretches of play during Tuesday evening’s ECF Game 2 at the TD Garden.
But LeBron James’s virtuo-solo, triple-double performance was upstaged by the sweet harmonies and boogie-woogie backbeat of Brad Stevens’s swingin’ and skifflin’ Jive Aces.
BTW, “skiffle” is a kind traditional, bluesy roots music, most known for the use of non-traditional, especially home-made instruments – a washboard, a bass fiddle made out of an old fence, etc. Rather a fitting analogy for our battling boys, I’m inclined to think. Skifflin' through the Conference Finals, yet again.
Scoreboard and LBJ’s anticipated outburst notwithstanding
… Cav Coach Ty Lue blinked first – in response to an Al Horford three-ball to pull Boston within 12 – 10 – when he burnt a time-out at 6:46 of Q1.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, would not the first stoppage-in-play under 7:00 invoke a mandatory TO charged to the Home team?
Now maybe I’m over-thinking this, but if I’m Coach Lue, I don’t wanna be (potentially) giving Brad Stevens an extra in-game strategy session – to be used at his discretion – now do I?
Worth noting is that Coach Brad did give his counterpart every opportunity to go on and use up another’n – Q1’s only other (mandatory, this time!) TO came at 2:05, brought on by a Marcus Smart personal foul.
On Boston’s eighth possession of Q2, Terry Rozier committed one of his rare post-season miscues (his only TO of the game, I might add), an errant pass swiped by Larry Nance, Jr – the C’s fourth TO in just 31 possessions.
Other than the 24-second violation they accepted on the 94th and final scoring opportunity of the ballgame, Stevens’s Squadron committed ONE turnover from that point on.
Cleveland scored just five points after TO’s, the C’s lowest yield of this post-season.
On the heels of a Kevin Love three-point bull’s-eye with 1:40 left in Q3, Coach Stevens quickly called one of his now-familiar late-quarter situational time-outs. He’s been interrupting Al Horford’s normal second-half resting pattern with some “spot-duty” in recent games, and that was part of the plan again.
Brad had reason, despite the Love trey, to be pleased with his team’s Q3 performance to that point – they’d converted 11 of their previous 15 possessions while in-verting a seven-point halftime deficit into a two-point advantage.
The C’s defense induced one-and-dones from James and Love; the offense delivered an assisted deuce and trey in its three tries.
Though Horford was quickly back on the bench (in lieu of Greg Monroe), the stout Boston “D” opened Q4 with five straight stops. By then, a comfortable double-digit lead was in place.
Boston’s torrid (56%) Q3 FG shooting cooled significantly as they misfired on 11 of their first 15 attempts in the homestretch. The Cavs kept plugging away, and a James “and-1” lay-up trimmed the lead to single-figures with 5:14 on the clock.
But leave it to J. R. Smith to commit a brainless flagrant foul on Horford – who cashed in both the FT’s and the bonus possession – that triggered a rash of Cleveland Turnovers and ultimately Coach Tyronn Lue’s white flag of surrender.