It was supposed to be the Cavs home opener for the 2009-2010 season against the Boston Celtics. Instead it looked more like Game 7 of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic as the Cavs lost 95-89.
There were the Cavs opening up a huge early lead only to watch it vanish like every good intention a Cleveland sports fan ever had. The Cavs led by 14 early but allowed the Celtics to take the lead into halftime with a 30-17 second-quarter advantage. The Cavs never again lead. Against the Celtics the collapse started even earlier than it did in the Eastern Conference Finals. At least then the Cavs waited until the third quarter to blow their big leads.
There were the slow Cavalier defenders on the perimeter, allowing the Celtics to make 9-of-19 3-pointers. At one point Boston had hit 12-of-15. That overall 47% success mark on threes is even better than the Magic’s 41% in the playoffs last season.
There was Mo Williams running around like a little kid looking for his lost mother. Williams scored just 12 points on 3-of-8 shooting. He dished out three assists and committed two turnovers. He averaged 3.7 assists and two turnovers per game against the Magic while shooting a dismal 37%.
There were the Celtics big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen doing what they do. The trio combined for 49 of Boston’s 95 points and grabbed 23 of 38 rebounds. Just like the Cavs couldn’t stop Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu in the playoffs last season, they couldn’t do a thing to the Boston stars either. Orlando’s threesome averaged 61.3 points per game against the Cavs in the playoffs, which was 59% of their team’s points.
There was LeBron James doing it all once again, despite all the team’s new additions. LeBron scored 38 points while the rest of the team scored 51. Against the Magic in the playoffs last year LeBron averaged 38.5 points. At least the rest of the team chipped in a few more. Shaquille O’Neal scored just 10 points and didn’t even hit half his shots despite shooting every one of them from the paint. He looked as if he were lacking a step in 28 minutes against the Celtics big men. And Zydrunas Ilgauskas off the bench was a disaster — just six points and five rebounds in 24 minutes for the former starting center.
And there were Cleveland sports fans, heads hung low, voices muted, hands balled into fists. No different than while watching the series against the Magic last year. And really, no different than watching any Cleveland sports team anytime ever.