BOSTON — While the shooting woes of Cavaliers small forward LeBron James have gotten a lot of attention, Boston’s Paul Pierce and Ray Allen haven’t fared much better.
Pierce, who averaged a team-high 19.6 points in the regular season, entered Wednesday’s Game 5 averaging just 12.5 points on .346 shooting (18-of-52) in the series, including a 3-of-16 effort from behind the 3-point line.
Fellow All-Star Allen, who averaged 17.4 points in the regular season, was even worse, averaging 10.3 points on .333 shooting (12-of-36), including 3-of-15 from beyond the arc.
“It’s our job to make them work as hard as they can for their shots,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “If we do that and they make some tough shots, that’s something we have to live with.”
Overall, the Cavs had held Boston to 81.5 points and .405 shooting over the first four games.
“We believe in each other,” Brown said. “It’s been this way the whole year. To get to where we are at this point in the season the way we did (with all the injuries and a big trade), you’ve got to have some belief.”
The one Boston star who played well over the first four games was power forward Kevin Garnett, who averaged 18.3 points on .561 shooting (32-of-57). Garnett, however, had just two points in the second half of Game 4, when Anderson Varejao defended him.
“We can’t expect to put one person on K.G.,” Brown said. “We have to put multiple, fresh bodies on him and hope they wear him down a little bit. You’re not going to stop him.”
Pierce is not only going head to head with James, he also had a one-on-one moment with the mother of the Cavs small forward during Game 4 at The Q.
When Pierce wrapped up a streaking James on a drive to the hoop, the momentum of the players carried them into the first row of seats along the baseline, where Gloria James was sitting. Upset at the way her 6-foot-8, 250-pound son had been fouled, Gloria James stood up and had a few words with Pierce and Garnett before James told her, “Sit your (behind) down.”
“That’s how moms are when they see something happen to their kids,” Pierce told Boston writers. “My mom probably would’ve done the same thing.”
Asked if his mom could take Gloria James, Pierce said: “I don’t know. My momma’s a little older, but she’s old school. She’s got some tactics.”
Read the minutes
Going into Game 5, Cavs guard Sasha Pavlovic had played just 44 minutes in the series. Devin Brown, a huge factor in the regular season, had played only two minutes, while Damon Jones had gotten off the bench only during timeouts.
“I remember when I was in fifth grade,” Mike Brown said. “I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted to and I was mad at the coach. That’s human nature.”
Mike Brown said his door is always open if a disgruntled player wants to talk about a lack of playing time.
“I don’t want a guy to sit there and be happy,” he said. “If he’s not playing, I want a guy to think, ‘I’m going to work my tail off to prove this cat wrong.’”
The eyes have it
Cavs point guard Delonte West, whose left eye became irritated early in Game 4, was in the starting lineup for Game 5.
“I can’t pinpoint any one incident,” the left-hander said when asked how the injury occurred.
West saw an eye specialist after the team’s shootaround Wednesday morning and tried on a pair of protective goggles, but decided not to wear them.
“After they introduce the away team, I’m going to go in the back and try to avoid some of the theatrics,” West said prior to Game 5.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, who acquired Allen and Garnett in the offseason, was named NBA Executive of the Year by Sporting News.
Ainge received 18 of the 47 votes cast by executives around the league to edge the Los Angeles Lakers’ Mitch Kupchak (14) and New Orleans’ Jeff Bower (12). Ainge is the first Celtics executive to win the award since its inception in 1973.
James entered Game 5 needing 11 assists to pass Mark Price (327) for first place in franchise playoff history.
• The company name that appears on the paychecks of Boston players is “Banner 17.” The Celtics have won 16 NBA titles, but none since 1986.
• Boston has sold out every game at TD Banknorth Garden in 2007-08 and was also the top-drawing road team in the NBA during the regular season with an average crowd of 19,042. The Lakers were second at 18,671.
• The Celtics also rank first in merchandise sales, with Garnett’s jersey the top seller in the league. Despite all that, the Celtics, who are $6.6 million into the luxury tax, are unlikely to turn a profit unless they advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
• Former Cavs forward Donyell Marshall was in attendance at Game 5.