The much ballyhooed opener between the Cavs and the Celtics ended in disappointment for Cleveland, as Boston grinded out narrow win, beating the Cavs, 95-89.
LeBron had a great game — it’s sad when we don’t think twice about a 38-point, 8-assist, 4-rebound, 4-block, 2- steal effort — but he once again didn’t get what he needed from his supporting cast.
Shaquille O’Neal was serviceable, posting 10 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes, but he missed a pair of crucial free throws in the fourth quarter when the Cavs were trying to mount a comeback. Anthony Parker, starting in place of the still-missing Delonte West, scored 10 points (on 3-9 shooting), but had a bad sequence in crunch time. In the last three minutes, he missed an open jumper, retreated too early on defense after LeBron shot a long three (missing an opportunity for an easy offensive rebound) and let a James pass sail through his hands and out of bounds. Parker is a good player, but he didn’t show it down the stretch.
As for the Celtics, Doc Rivers was hoping to limit Kevin Garnett to 30 minutes, but he kept him in the game in the fourth quarter when he saw an opportunity to beat the Cavs on their home floor. KG finished with 13/10 (in 33 minutes) and hit a difficult bank shot over O’Neal in the fourth quarter.
Rasheed Wallace came off the bench to score 12 points in 24 minutes. He was in the game in crunch time, essentially splitting time with Kendrick Perkins at center. Paul Pierce led the way for the C’s with 23 points and 11 rebounds.