Random halftime Pindowns as the Cavaliers lead the Celtics after two quarters at TD Garden, 64-52…
1. It took all of three and a half minutes for all five Cleveland starters to dent the scorebook. Ball movement, off-the-ball movement and solid screens all evident.
2. Boston is the best defensive team in the NBA. Playing with four guys who have had exactly one practice with the team, playing without second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Kevin Love, the Cavaliers’ 62 points are the most allowed by the Celtics in a first half this season.
3. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Cavaliers’ offensive rating was 123 in the first half. More impressively, though, their defensive rating was 100… 12 better than their season average.
4. LeBron James sat out eight minutes of the first half half after appearing to bang his right knee with Boston’s Aron Baynes on a drive to the hole with 5:04 to go in the first quarter, on which James was called for an offensive foul. Of note, Cleveland’s plus-minus while James was on the bench — minus-2. The Cavaliers would take that every single time, if they could.
5. Cleveland was aggressive offensively, not settling for jumpers after bleeding the shot clock with isolation basketball. The fact the Cavs shot 16 free throws in the first two quarters backs that up.
6. New point guard George Hill picked up two fouls in the first six and a half minutes, but the Cavaliers still built their halftime advantage.
7. The numbers of the new guys were excellent. Hill (13 minutes, 7 points), Rodney Hood (10 minutes, 8 points), Jordan Clarkson (11 minutes, 6 points) and Larry Nance Jr. (6 minutes, 1 point) all made solid contributions.
8. Rookie Cedi Osman (4 points, 3 boards, 1 steal) provided a moment of levity after he made a steal and missed a breakaway dunk with 2:01 left in the half. Of note, as soon as Osman missed the hammer, James and Clarkson other were seen clapping and encouraging the 22-year-old, making his second NBA start, to keep being aggressive.
9. After trailing after one quarter, 32-31, the Cavaliers, buoyed by their bench, outscored Boston in the second quarter, 32-20. The Cleveland bench outscored their counterparts in the first half, 23-13.
10. Oh, by the way, James’ numbers in the first half — 17 points, five boards and six dimes — while sitting out eight minutes.