Cavs, Hawks and Celtics hold home court

Cavs 96, Bulls 83
Derrick Rose (28-7-10) pretty much had is way, but no other Bull scored more than 12 points in the loss. The Cavs looked great at the start and cruised to a 15-point halftime lead behind a svelte and energetic Shaquille O’Neal, who scored 10 points in the first two periods. The Bulls did cut the lead to seven with 6:20 to play in the game, but a 16-10 run by the Cavs put the game out of reach. LeBron posted 24-6-5 and Mo Williams added 19-4-10 in the win.

Hawks 102, Bucks 92
Atlanta got off to a blistering start and led by 17 after the first quarter and by 22 at halftime. But the Bucks fought back behind 34 points from Brandon Jennings and 16 points from John Salmons, and managed to cut the lead to seven with an Ersan Ilyasova three-pointer with 7:56 to play. But there was just too much Mike Bibby, who hit 8 of 9 from the field for a surprising 19 points. Joe Johnson led the way with 22-7-5 and Al Horford added 15-7 with five blocks. Scott Skiles may want to rethink his matchups. To start the game, his best defender, Luc Mbah a Moute, was watching Johnson, but that put Carlos Delfino on Josh Smith, who just owned him down low. If Johnson would’ve had a bad game, sure, keep Mbah a Moute on him, but if he’s going to score 20+ anyway, you might as well make things more difficult for Smith on the block.

Celtics 85, Heat 76
We’ve wondered all season if this lackluster Boston team can simply flip the switch, and they managed to do it in Game 1. Miami led by 14 with about seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but the C’s clamped down defensively and rattled off a 38-15 run over the remaining 19 minutes. There was a strange scene late in the fourth when Paul Pierce collapsed near the Miami bench with under a minute to play. Contrary to Hubie Brown’s analysis, Pierce injured his neck when his head got caught on the official as he headed out of bounds. While he was down, Quentin Richardson came over (for some unknown reason) and Kevn Garnett, who was standing over Pierce, threw a little elbow into Richardson to keep him back. The two started talking shit, and next thing you know, KG throws another elbow and gets tossed from the game. We’ll see if the league steps in and hands down any suspensions. There also may be an argument that a few Heat players “left the bench area” even though the scrum happened right in front of the Miami bench. In the end, someone for the Heat needs to step up and make some shots. Dwyane Wade (26-8-6) is a great, great player, but he can’t do it all by himself. Jermaine O’Neal and Michael Beasley combined to go 6 of 22 from the field for 14 points. That’s not going to get it done. (By the way, what the hell happened to O’Neal? He’s only 31 and should be in his less-explosive-but-savvy-enough-to-score-at-will phase.)

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