The Celtics Can Beat the Cavs: Yes, They Can

Loscy LoscyContributor IApril 29, 2010

BOSTON - APRIL 27:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics hangs on to the ball as he slips in the first half against the Miami Heat during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at the TD Garden on April 27, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Yes. I am saying it. I am going to say it through and through: I like the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semis against the Cavs.


F it: Why not?

I’m a homer during the playoffs. I hate everyone in the East except my beloved Celtics.

Well, right now, I hate everyone except the Celtics, Jazz, and Manu Ginobili. Everyone else and their mothers are choosing the Cavs? All the more reason to bet on the Celtics. Bet your house on it.

But most importantly, I actually believe that this Celtics team can beat the Cavs.

My playoff predictions are going really (really) well, but I have full power to unbet against my team.

I am doing that. Right now.


Simple Facts

LeBron is going to average a triple-double.

Cleveland’s bench is deeper than any other team in the playoffs.

Cleveland plays very well at home.

These teams don’t like each other, and the play will get chippy.

The refs will side with LBJ more than anyone else—yes, worse so than D-Wade.

Now that those issues are on the table, let’s figure out how to beat the Cavs. Enter Coach Loscy.


Talking Points

Rondo needs to control the tempo. Whether we are pushing the ball or in a half-court set, it is going to be so crucial for Rondo to make the right decisions. When to play in transition, when to settle. I can’t stress this enough: The entire series could be hinged upon this series of decisions. While it’s scary, at least we all know how important it is to the ebb and flow of team confidence and to the overall feel of the game.

Make the Cavs’ big men work. Put them on the line, bump their bodies, and when fouling, foul them hard. No easy baskets for Shaq, Antawn Jamison, Varejao, Big Z, JJ Hickson, or even dare I say, Leon Powe. That is a long list of worthy big men. **SIGH**

Get Ray Ray started early. Anthony Parker doesn’t have the legs the stay with Ray all night. Get Ray going. Get Ray going. Get Ray going. If the Cavs stick Delonte West on him, then keep running him through double screens—he’s not strong enough to fight through them.

Here might be the most important coaching strategy to employ against the Cavs: Force the Cavs to play a sloppy game. Make the Cavs play uncomfortable basketball.

I have used this block quote in two other posts during these playoffs, and damn it to hell, I’ll use it again:

“The Celtics are not a finesse team: They won’t execute well on every possession (evident by all of the turnovers). But if the Celtics can continue to play upbeat, scrappy, gritty basketball then they will hopefully bring their opponents down to their level. If the Celtics can force other teams to play in this kind of tempo, then they will beat better teams: such as the Cavs, Magic, or Hawks. All three of those teams are better than the Celtics, but if the good guys can force others to play at their level…then we’ve got a chance at this.”

If the Celtics can get the Cavs to play a sloppy game, the Celtics can win this thing. The Celtics may have a win that was just smooth and easy-going, but as we’ve seen, this is just more of a gutsy team that will rely on energy and hustle.

For now, that’s all.

As I’ve said all season, I really like this Celtics team. The Cavs did not play inspired ball during the first round matchup against the Bulls. They were clearly their own worst enemy.

Perhaps the Cavs are not built as a playoff team. Too much emotion and not enough channeling of that emotional charge.

Maybe, just maybe, the Cavs are built to win individual games, and fall apart against a team in a stretched-out series. This could be work out well for us Celtics fans, because I am pretty sure this C’s team was built for the playoffs.

Anything is possi-bull.