Now, the real fun begins. Two years ago, the Cavaliers and Celtics had a dramatic second round series that ended with a LeBron James-Paul Pierce duel that went to Pierce with the help of some key plays from Celtic role players down the stretch (P.J. Brown offensive rebound, anybody)? But, a lot has changed since then, and it is now the Cavaliers who are the favorite with the Celtics still trying to hold on with an aging core. This series will be an all-out war as most of the matchups between these two in the last three years have been.
Series Review (Teams tied 2-2)
Game 1 (in Cleveland): Celtics 95, Cavaliers 89
On opening night, the Cavaliers were anything but a cohesive unit after a trying preseason where injuries and illness gave little opportunity for Coach Mike Brown to find what lineups were going to work for him. Cleveland started out with a 13-2 spurt, and Shaq scored on Kendrick Perkins three times in the post. But, old habits hit the Cavs, including finishing quarters poorly as they trailed by six at the half. The Cavs started out poorly in the second half with a Boston 10-2 run as well. This was our first look at the Shaq and Z combo on the floor together (including preseason). LeBron was left to do heavy lifting alone with 38 points and 15 of the team's 24 fourth quarter points. The Celts hit nine threes and outscored the Cav bench 26-10.