If the NBA were a horrible Michael Bay movie, this is the part where the bad guy would mutter "I fear we've awakened a sleeping giant." Then a Boston Celtics flag would flutter in slow-motion.*
Cleveland sent a message—even though they don't send messages—by destroying the Celtics in an (almost) completely meaningless regular season clock burner. Boston, playing without Kevin Garnett, will still finish second in the East and still won't have home-court advantage if and when they run into the Cavs in the playoffs. But depending on your interpretation of the 31-point blowout, the defending champs have been humbled by this passing of the torch ... or for the first time all season they have been given a reason to give a crap.
When the Cavs reserves pushed the lead to 30, James, Mo Williams and Delonte West boogied together during a timeout as Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" pumped through the arena. The trio wasn't shy about things as they mugged for TV cameras to the roaring crowd's delight.
At the other end of the floor, the Celtics sat stoically while watching the Cavs' clown around.
"I'm always going to remember that," Ray Allen said. "If I beat a team, as happy as I may be in victory, I'm always going to stay humble and always remember that there's another day. We play each other too much. Those are great motivational thoughts for me."
Allen was also thrown to the floor by Anderson Varejao earlier in the game and responded with a timely elbow to the groin, so you know at least one Celtic is pissed off. LeBron James tried to defuse the situation—even though he was clearly talking trash the whole game—by saying his team wasn't trying to send a message because they already know they're awesome and the NBA is all about respect.
"We're not trying to disrespect any team or show up any team," he said. "We're all professionals. If you take it as disrespectful, then you got to do something about it."
Right. Because nothing says "professional" like backhanded insults and dancing to Rick Astley.
Cavaliers clobber Celtics 107-76 [AP]
Cavaliers ace a late-season test, while frustrated Celtics just get testy after 107-76 blowout [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
Celtics beaten but not bowed [Boston Globe]
Ray Allen's Elbow To The Varejaos [You Tube]
(*Yes, Pearl Harbor was on cable this weekend. Why do you ask?)