|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
The Celtics lead the entire way today, but that did not stop the Cavs from providing a scare into the heart of every Boston fan around. Paul Pierce calmed all those hearts by performing in an spectacular fashion today as he and Lebron James clashed back and forth all game in a similar fashion to Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins in the 1988 Eastern Conference Semi-finals. Once again, the Celtics player was outscored, but his team was not out-dueled. The Celtics finished off the Cavs today 97-92 to advance on to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons.
This game was all about Paul Pierce for the Celtics. Right from the get-go Pierce seemed unstoppable. Even after a hard foul where Pierce went flying into a cameraman, he came back and delivered when it counted. Pierce finished off the day with 41 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Pierce was aided by Kevin Garnett who finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. P.J. Brown had an excellent game off of the bench with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Eddie House continued to make his return to the Celtics by providing a great spark off the bench and helped get the crowd into the game as well make an extraordinary effort late in the first half by saving the ball after a steal from going out of bounds. His effort displayed just how much the Celtics wanted to advance into the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston also received contributions from Rajon Rondo who had 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists as well as Kendrick Perkins who also had 8 points. Ray Allen continued to struggle and managed only 4 points.
On the other end, Lebron James tried to defeat the Celtics himself (and almost succeeded). James finished the day with 45 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Delonte West was the only other Cleveland player to score in double figures by finishing the day with 15 points. The fact that the Celtics could contain the rest of the Cavs lineup was a big plus to them winning. Wally Szczerbiak was one Cleveland player, whom the Celtics contained, not allowing him to score any points the entire game.
Boston comes out of this series on top thanks to their great ability to play at home. They are really going to need to step it up on the road though against Detroit. I believe that they can still beat Detroit and even think that Cleveland may have been a tougher opponent than Detroit is. However, Detroit is well-rested since they eliminated Orlando and will be prepared for the Celtics. The Pistons will get Chauncey Billups back for the series after he missed the end of the Orlando series. If the Celtics can take one on the road and continue to play the way that they have been at home then I see this series only going 5 or 6 games. Detroit is a much older and experienced opponent then the Cavs and will continue to be a great match-up for the Celtics. The Celtics will need everything they can get to move past Detroit which starts with Ray Allen emerging from his slump.
Tags: Celtics, Chauncey Billups, Cleveland Cavaliers, Delonte West, Detroit Pistons, Dominique Wilkins, Eddie House, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Orlando Magic, P.J. Brown, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Wally Szczerbiak