Tonight, the Celtics finished off the Miami Heat winning the series 4-1. The Cleveland Cavaliers closed out their series against the Chicago Bulls 4-1 as well setting up a rematch of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals starting this Saturday.
Is Cleveland a great team? Of course they are. They wouldn't have had the best record in the NBA if they weren't. Are they beatable? Yes. Can the Celtics beat them? Yes.
For all the people who think the Celtics don't stand a chance against Cleveland, here are four reasons why Boston can win:
1 . The Celtics and Cavaliers split the season series 2-2.
2 . Cleveland and Boston have identical road records (26-15). Granted, Cleveland's home record was much better, but the Celtics were more severely impacted by injuries this year, and now they are healthy.
3 . The Celtics have older players, but guess what? So does Cleveland.
Shaq is 38 and Antawn Jamison will be 34 in June. Anthony Parker and Zydrunas Ilgauskas will both turn 35 in June.
4 . Lebron James is without question the best player on either team and possibly the best in the world. But do Cleveland's top four players have the edge over Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo? No. The Celtics have more weapons and more experience.
Cleveland is the No. 1 seed and Lebron James finally has a legitimate number two player in Antawn Jamison. The Cavs possess home court advantage, and will be heavily favored in the series. Still, the Celtics have a team that can go toe to toe with them and Cleveland knows it.
Keys to the Series for Boston:
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have both peaked right at the perfect time and they will need to continue to be lethal for Boston to advance.
Kevin Garnett looks very solid overall right now averaging 15.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg in Round One of the Playoffs. In order to defeat the Cavs, the Celtics will probably have to get a couple breakout performances from KG where he puts up over 20 points and pulls down double digits in rebounds.
Rajon Rondo just has to continue to do what he's done all year which is tear it up. Thus far in the postseason, he's averaged 14.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 10.2 apg, and 2.4 steals a game.
Kendrick Perkins played pretty well in the Miami series in terms of rebounding and defensive, but Perkins is going to have to step up a lot more on the offensive end in the next round. The Celtics will also depend on Perkins to play Shaq and Anderson Varejao very tough and aggressive on the defensive end.
Celtics Coach, Doc Rivers, chose to limit the minutes of Marquis Daniels and Shelden Williams against Miami. Daniels will be a great asset to the Celts in terms of helping with covering Lebron. Williams would be able to help in covering Antawn Jamison off the bench. Doc will hopefully utilize those two more in this next round.
A big part of this series is going to come down to a battle of wills and who wants it more. The Celtics cannot allow Cleveland to outmatch their intensity.
On the defensive end, the Celtics need to keep Lebron out on the perimeter as much as possible and also double team him to get the ball out of his hands and force Cleveland's other players to beat them. There's no way to stop Lebron, but there's no way to stop the four All Stars on the Celtics either.
Celtics in seven games.