Better Late Than Never: Cavs – Celtics Preview + LeBron MVP Thoughts
With the Cavs set to take on the Celtics tonight in the first game of Round 2, I wanted to put down some quick thoughts on the series as well as LeBron's second MVP award and those who did not vote for him:
- This Celtics team can be very dangerous. If the Cavs slip up and take one or two games lightly, especially at home, that could leave the door open for the Celtics to win the series.
- Again, the Cavs should win a championship this year, which means that they should beat the Celtics this round. But that does not mean the Celtics are not a dangerous team. Indiana Jones had the talent to avoid the booby traps and retrieve the golden idol in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. He should have been able to do it. But one slip up, and he's a goner.
- It'll be interesting to see how Mike Brown decides to go about this series, whether he opts for the bigger, half court game, or the younger, more athletic small ball. Against Chicago, he kept trying to force feed the half court game and get Shaq involved even though it wasn't working. I was fine with this then, because playing small ball played to the Bulls strengths. They had young, energetic and athletic bigs in Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah, so they would excel in those fast pace, running the floor games.
- I believe we should come in with the opposite strategy for Boston: play small. The Celtics have aging farts, err... veterans in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Michael Finley, and Rasheed Wallace. Yes, they have younger energy guys in Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, and a young stud point guard in Rajon Rondo. But aside from Rondo, this team isn't best suited for a fast pace game. Garnett's knees are weaker than a Kevin Durant bench press. The Cavs should run them into the ground.
- But knowing Mike Brown, you just never know. If the Cavs play to the Celtics strengths, and go big. I could see this going 6-7 games. If the Cavs play that athletic small ball, the series should be over within 5 games.
- My Prediction: Cavs in 6.
- Why 6? I just don't see it going 7, but I can see the Cavs slipping in one game and Mike Brown slipping in another. So there's my reasoning for six. Steel trap logic, I know.
More Random Thoughts that were brought to my attention from others:
- Brian Windhorst tweeted today that the since the Cavs and Celtics met in the 2008 Conference Semi-Finals, the Celtics have the exact same starting five (Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Perkins), while the Cavs have exactly one same starter. I'll give you three guesses as to who that is... Guess yet? ... Okay ... Trick question: Damon Jones.
- Seriously though, that type of continuity is what makes the Celtics a very dangerous team.
- The Cavs starters, other than LeBron, in that '08 series? Delonte West, Wally World, Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Tonight, the Cavs will start Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O'Neal, with West & Z available off the bench. Nicely done, Ferry.
Final Thought on this series:
- Simply put: this series should be awesome. I'm giddy for it. Ever since their last meeting, I've been hoping the Cavs and Celtics would meet in the playoffs. There is some bad blood between these two teams. You all know that last game on Easter Sunday: the Cavs making a 20+ point comeback, LeBron hoisting the ill-advised 3-pointer for the win as opposed to taking it to the rack and into overtime, Garnett grabbing his crotch and yelling at LeBron, Tony Allen talking trash to LeBron (yes: Tony Allen talked trash to LeBron. Idiot.) Combine that with "Big Baby" messing up the Diesel's ability to hitchhike, several playoff meetings, and you have yourself a heated rivalry in Round 2!
Oh Yeah! LeBron won the MVP!
- LeBron will be named the leagues Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, becoming only the tenth player in league history to win the award back to back.
- This may have been the most anticlimactic MVP announcement in recent memory. ESPN.com writer, Bill Simmons, scrapped his favorite article of the year (his MVP countdown) because it appeared to be such a foregone conclusion. LeBron was viewed as the preseason pick for MVP by many pundits. And ever since the first month came and went, he left little doubt he would be named MVP until the announcement became official.
- Seriously, LeBron's season was just absurd. He averaged 29.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 8.6 apg. He nearly swept the Player of the Month awards! And most importantly, he was the best player on the best team in the league.
- LeBron had such a convincing MVP performance this year, it was like a bizarro health care issue: there was no debate. He may not have won the award unanimously, but I had yet to see someone publish an article putting LeBron 2nd or below. I think that's because they know that if they let anyone know they didn't vote LeBron as MVP, they'd develop a reputation of having an IQ lower than Sloth from the Goonies. And deservedly so.
- Here's how I imagine a conversation going with someone who didn't vote LeBron as MVP:
- "Wait. You didn't vote LeBron as MVP?! Who did you vote for?"
- "BA-BY... RUTH!"
- "Huh? Babe Ruth? He's a baseball player. And he's dead."
- "BABY RUTH!"
- "Oh, Baby Ruth! As in the Chocolate Bar. OK ... Wait, that makes even less sense!"
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