After watching the Celtics go seven games with the Hawks, I think it would be a slap in the face to not give the Cavs that much credit. Until the Celtics can prove they can win on the road or show that they can ever lose at home, I’m going with Celtics winning in seven games, with the home team going 7-0 in the series. Here’s a few other reasons why:
- I wavered choosing the Cavs in 7 games instead, but with the Celtics homecourt advantage, I say Celtics in 7.
- The series will be even closer than the Hawks series, considering that the Celtics blew the Hawks out in four wins and lost in two close games in Game 4 and 6. They were blown out in Game 3, but that doesn’t make up for the difference of how bad the Hawks were killed in Boston. Unlike the Hawks, LeBron will make it competitive in Boston.
- Each team was pushed pretty hard in the first round, but the Cavs did play one less game so I’d be inclined to say they’re more well-rested…but that’s not to say that the Celtics are still breathing heavy after the Hawks series. The C’s got one day off and they didn’t have to do any travel, so both teams will be well-rested, which works to the Celtics’ favor because they have more talent.
Key Player Match-up:
Paul Pierce vs. LeBron James
- I could try to make the argument that a battle between Kendrick Perkins and Ben Wallace would be interesting and fun to watch…but as LeBron James goes, so do the Cavs. The man probably assigned to cover him (when it’s not a double-team) is Paul Pierce.
- Pierce has become an ace defender this season when he’s not concentrating on scoring 100 points a game. Since the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, Pierce has been able to concentrate more on his defensive game to become a more complete player. Pierce can help to contain James, but he will need help from James Posey via a sub or double-team in order to hold James at bay.
- James is a fine defensive player himself, but he will have a lot to handle from The Truth. Pierce is the Celtics best option for slashing to the hoop and drawing fouls. To win close games in the playoffs (I’ve said it over and over again), you have to go to the hoop and get to the FT line. If Pierce can do that on James, it racks up fouls for him and the Celtics should have the series easily. But…I agree it’s easier said than done.
So…What to expect: The Celtics and Cavs will be interesting to watch. We saw how LeBron James carried the Cavs by himself to the NBA Finals last season, but can he get by stronger opposition this season? I’d say he gives the Celtics a run for their money, and when it’s all said and done, the series will be tied 3-3 heading into a Game 7 showdown in Boston. I’d take the C’s 100 times out of 100 in that situation.
Tags: Ben Wallace, Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Paul Pierce