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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Game 69


Boston Celtics (29-40) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (39-29)

Friday, March 24, 2006
Time: 4:30pm PT, 7:30pm ET
TV: FSOhio, NBALP
Radio: WTAM 1100
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

HEAD COACHES


PROBABLE STARTERS



BOSTON CELTICS’ BENCH


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS’ BENCH


BOSTON CELTICS’ NOTES

West matches up well against Cleveland’s guards, so good passes and finishes at the rim are to be expected. Plus his athleticism, especially on the defensive end, gives the Cavalies problems. Delonte has had several impressive blocks and steals against Cleveland in the past.

Paul Pierce needs to be his usual aggressive self and march to the foul line. Get Cleveland in foul trouble, having them panic in who to send to guard Pierce.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS’ NOTES

LeBron James should be fine but the rest of the team needs to match the Celtics’ intensity. This game will probably have a playoff type atmosphere. The Cavaliers need to have a dominate opening quarter. The team can’t come out laid back as the Comeback Cavs. They need to be the Killer Cavs right away.

It was good seeing Marshall and Jones spacing the floor by making their long distance shots. The Celtics may try to pack it in, so the bombers need to pick up where they left off.

OVERVIEW

This should be a good game because of the Pierce and James battle, plus the fact that Cleveland is getting ever closer to achieving their magic number. Cleveland is coming off a hard-fought win against the Bobcats. It was an overtime thriller that had LeBron nail his first game-winning shot. With the winning streak still going strong and the Celtics coming to town, it's games like this that show you what the team is made of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Beacon Journal | 03/24/2006 | James, Pierce resume rivalry



James, Pierce resume rivalry
Cavaliers standout set to go head-to-head with star of Celtics 10th time

By Brian Windhorst
Beacon Journal sportswriter

CLEVELAND - Over the last three years, much has been made of the story line, “LeBron James vs. (opposing star's name here).''

Whether it's Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant, when they're playing James and the Cavaliers, it's usually televised nationally and much-hyped.

But the schedule-makers and TV decision-makers seemingly haven't noticed James' most fierce and entertaining individual rivalry: the one against Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics.

Tonight marks the 10th regular-season matchup between James and Pierce over the last three years, as the Celtics visit Quicken Loans Arena. Their history and rivalry goes beyond those games, however. In fact, including the four preseason games the Cavs have played with the Celtics over the last two years, James has faced Pierce more than any other contemporary star.

The last time the two hooked up, the result was one of the best Cavs games for viewing this season.

James put up 43 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a double-overtime victory. Pierce scored a career-high 50 points and might have forced a third overtime -- or led his team to victory -- had he not drawn his sixth foul.

The next day, both flew to Houston to take part in the All-Star Game.

“We didn't script it, it just kind of ended up that way. I look at it like it was a classic,'' Pierce said. “You had two all-stars going toe to toe, and I think it was fun just being a part of it.''

It was just the latest in a series of intense matchups. The start goes back to James' rookie season, when he scored 37 points and Pierce bested him with 41 in a Celtics victory.

Over the last two seasons, the Cavs have played three games with the Celtics that have come down to the final seconds, two of which have gone to overtime.

Since James came into the league, the Cavs are 5-4 vs. Pierce and Boston. Pierce has averaged 30 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in those games. James has averaged 28.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists. The two have guarded each other a majority of the time, which hasn't always been the case with high-profile opponents such as Bryant, Wade and Anthony.

“I always like going up against him,'' James said. “We're both similar players and we play the same position, so we usually guard each other. It's always a lot of fun.''

They were guarding each other before last season during a preseason game in Columbus at Value City Arena when things got heated. James and Pierce were aggressively going after each other on the offensive and defensive ends. It boiled over after James got a steal and dunk.

Being chirped at from the Cavs' bench, Pierce spit at the reserves. He later was fined.

Following the game, Pierce and James got into a fiery exchange in the hallway between the locker rooms with then-coach Paul Silas having to break things up and Pierce having to be carried away by teammates.

The two later made up at the All-Star Game in Denver, but they still make sure they bring their best game to face each other.

“He's a top scorer and I'm a top scorer and we kind of offset each other,'' Pierce said. “He's a very nice guy. He's having an MVP-type year guiding his team to the playoffs.''
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·



Damon Jones is shooting 9-of-18 (50 percent) from beyond the arc in his last three games.

CAVALIERS
Over the hump of the shooting slump

Friday, March 24, 2006

Branson Wright
Plain Dealer Reporter


Damon Jones refused to consider the missed wide-open jumpers as a sign that he and his teammates were in a shooting slump. Jones knew that it was only a matter of time before the 3-pointers would begin to fall again.

That time has finally arrived.

"People have said that Damon isn't shooting well and why am I still playing him," coach Mike Brown said. "I'm still playing him because I've seen Damon [shoot well] over the years. He's done it against us where ever I've coached. He's a capable 3-point shooter and that's why we brought him here. Not only him, other guys have stepped up and knocked down the shot."

Jones, Donyell Marshall and Flip Murray have picked up the out side shoot ing pace in recent games. This is the same Jones and Marshall who were so deep in a slump that they were shooting air balls and even second guessing themselves. Murray was shooting 20 percent from the 3-point arc this season when he arrived in Cleveland from Seattle. Outside shooting wasn't part of his game plan.

But all three players have made major contributions in recent games. Especially Jones, who is shooting 9-of-18 (50 percent) from beyond the arc in his last three games.

Jones was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc against Charlotte on Wednesday.

"I haven't noticed any [improvement] in my shooting," Jones said. "I'm just trying to get them up. I'm just trying to contribute in any way I can. Playoff time is coming and I've been there before, so I know what it's like. I also know we all have to step up and get better any way we can with only 14 games left."

Marshall, who is 2-for-4 from beyond the arc in his last two games, has also been to the playoffs but his shot has been off until he made some recent adjustments.

"I'm taking less 3s and trying to get to the basket more," Marshall said. "Since I've been driving more, the defense now looks at me and wonders what I'm going to do. That's opening the floor for us and that could translate to more wins because that's going to keep people on their toes. Before, Damon and I were standing out there and shooting 3s, now the defense doesn't know if we're going to take the shot or pump fake and go past them."

Murray has made a living going past defenders with easy scores to the basket but has found a major addition to his game. Murray, a career 26.3 percent 3-point shooter, is knocking them down since he's been with the Cavs. Not only has Murray been an improved 3-pointer shooter but he's hitting 3-pointers with the game on the line. There was the 3-pointer in the final seconds to beat the Chicago Bulls earlier this month and the 3-pointer that sent Wednesday's game into overtime.

"I remember when Flip first got here he was 0-for-8 from the 3-point line," Brown said. "I was looking at his stats and I told one of the [assistant] coaches to tell Flip to start driving the ball more. I had this conversation the morning of shootaround of the Chicago game when he shot that [game-winning] three. After the game, I told the coaches not to say anything to Flip. Leave Flip alone."

Murray, who was 3-for-4 from 3-point range against Charlotte, said he has developed the outside touch since joining the Cavs.

"For me, it was always about going to the basket," Murray said. "Now if I have the open shot I'm going to take it. I've been constantly working with the coaches on my shot. They've taught me to use the same form every time and make sure I get the ball up high to give it a chance to go in. So far things have been working out."

Indeed.

Hughes' return near:

Larry Hughes' return to action is near. He could return within two weeks. Hughes had a second surgery to repair a right middle finger last month.

He's no longer in a cast and he's no longer wearing a brace. Hughes has started taking short jumpers and ball-handling drills.

"I'm feeling good right now," Hughes said. "Everything is feeling good. As soon as I get cleared I'll be ready to go."

Hughes has been out of action since the end of December. He's more than ready to play.

"It's been tough sitting and waiting," Hughes said. "I haven't done anything with my right hand for three months and that's kind of unbelievable as much basketball as I've played. I'm tired of watching."

Before the injury, Hughes was averaging 16.2 points per game.

Short jumpers:

The Cavs dished out a season-high 31 assists against the Bobcats on Wednesday. . . . The Cavs are 7-1 when dishing out 25 or more assists in a game. . . . Zydrunas Ilgauskas has scored in double figures in 22 of his past 23 games and is averaging 17.1 points on 51.9 percent shooting during that span.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yahoo! | NBA | Boston Celtics/Cleveland Cavaliers Preview (click on picture)

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We have a tie game at halftime (38-38). Cleveland outscored Boston 22-17 in the second quarter (+5).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^ Yeah. It's been a rocky game. Especially the beginning (it took forever just to score).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We trail by 1 heading into the last quarter. This is going to be a close call either way.
 

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Back and forth game. Hopefully Pierce doesn't stay hot
 

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AV with a big impact on this game
 

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Cavs can't keep any separation in this game: Marshall+Jones = inability to keep lead
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Big play by James doing the kick and pitch to Marshall.
 

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The great thing about FLip is no matter what point in the game he isn't afraid to drive hard to the basket.

Wow, Marshall actually hits a 3 pointer
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Marshall with another big 3-ball. Is Marshall coming back into form for a playoff run? I hope so.
 

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remy23 said:
Marshall with another big 3-ball. Is Marshall coming back into form for a playoff run? I hope so.
Or is it his one good game for every 5 bad games routine again? Right now as long as Jones and Marshall alternate good games i'll be happy
 

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