Cavs' Wallace blames allergies for his departure from Game 2

Updated: May 8, 2008, 11:28 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Cleveland Cavaliers forward Ben Wallace learned about springtime in Boston the hard way Thursday night when allergies forced him to leave the Celtics' 89-73 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Ben Wallace

Wallace

"You know it's a tough place for allergies, but no one has warned me," Wallace said. "That's when it started -- headaches. Then it got worse. I got lightheaded and my head started spinning."

Wallace, the team's third-leading rebounder, left the game in the first quarter with what was originally called "dizziness" and never returned. He said he expects to play Game 3 in Cleveland on Saturday night.

"I got lightheaded," he said. "There was smoke in the first quarter. You can't play basketball with your head spinning like that."

During pregame introductions, fireworks were set off on the court -- like before Game 1 -- and smoke remained in the opening minutes, slowly lifting to the ceiling.

Boston seemed to take advantage of Wallace's absence inside, taking the ball to the basket more when it recovered from an early 21-9 deficit. Wallace played 3:40 and had two rebounds. In Game 1's loss, he grabbed nine rebounds in just over 31 minutes.

"Ben is a starter for us," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "He has played big in the playoffs so far, so to loose him in the playoffs is tough, but that's not what the problem was here tonight."

Boston, which has been somewhat of an outside shooting team for most of the postseason, outscored Cleveland 28-22 in the paint and went to the free throw line 38 times, hitting 28.

Teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas didn't immediately know why his Wallace left the game.

"It happened so fast," he said. "Obviously we missed him on the boards. We hope he's going to be OK."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press