Typically, it’s a thunderous dunk from LeBron James that gets the Cleveland Cavaliers fired up, but James was just a spectator this time around. After trailing by 11 points at halftime against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Cleveland point guard Mo Williams threw down a one-handed jam right in the face of Boston’s Paul Pierce that turned the whole game around.

Williams’ slam sparked a 21-9 Cleveland run to end the third quarter and Cleveland went on to take Game 1, 101-93, on May 1.
It was Williams’ first dunk as a Cavalier, and it came at the perfect time. With James nursing an elbow injury, Cleveland fell behind early as both Williams and James were neutralized by a Boston team that came out swinging.

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo provided the highlight of the first half, dashing into the lane repeatedly and finishing with high floaters off the glass and over the outstretched arms of Cleveland’s big men. Rondo finished with 27 points and 12 assists. But a second half defensive switch matched up Rondo with a bigger defender, and Williams was set loose. The 6-foot-1-inch Williams scored 14 points in the third quarter, finishing with 20 points and six assists.
Despite an elbow injury that James said has been bothering him for the past three weeks, the reigning MVP was his usual fantastic self. James’ three-pointer with 22 seconds left sealed the win, and gave him 12 points in the fourth quarter. James racked up 35 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in an impressive night, fitting for the man who will be presented with his second consecutive league MVP trophy on May 2 at Cleveland’s Akron University.

Game 2 is scheduled for Monday, May 3 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO