This is not a Rasheed Wallace playoff prediction or even a bold proclamation. These are just some reasons why the Boston Celtics can not only compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but also beat them in their Eastern Conference Semi Finals match-up.
ESPN will probably say this is blasphemy, Cavalier fans won't oblige either, but here are some solid reasons why Lebron James and company might come up short yet again.
A lot of times you hear stories about up and coming players, watching their favorite players on film and trying to emulate them.
Every time I catch a Celtics game and see the things Rajon Rondo does on the court, I'm at a loss for words. I think of who he reminds me of and get stumped.
Everyone loves D-Rose and Russell Westbrook, and denoting them as the future top point guards in the league. But if we're talking about true point guards, those who run the offense and get everyone involved, there's none better in the Eastern Conference than Rajon Rondo.
I know his jump shot won't remind any Celtics' fan of Larry Legend, or even current GM Danny Ainge, but let's not act like Rondo is Mateen Cleaves offensively. In that epic series against the Bulls last season, Rondo averaged 21.5 points per a game. Even in this years first round series against the heat he put up 14.2 points while dishing out 10 assist per game.
Mo Williams isn't exactly Gary Payton on defense either. Rondo should be able to utilize his quickness and have his way with Williams all series.
This is probably the first, and most likely the last slide show you'll see on bleacherreport.com that will feature Tony Allen.
Boston fans rip him, and talk about everything he can't do. And they're right to some extent, he can't do a lot of things.
But there are a couple of things he does quite well. First and foremost, he competes. He will compete and atleast not back down to Lebron James.
Everyone remembers the crazy Pierce vs Lebron battle in Game Seven of that series, but no one talks about how poorly Lebron shot for a majority of that series (36 percent overall). Lebron won't be going against veteran defender James Posey, but he will go against someone in Tony Allen that will get after him.
Secondly, Allen brings energy off the bench. He's going to run alongside Rondo and try to provide a spark every game.
Hate him! Question whether he should be in some type of asylum for the constant swearing after he makes...a free throw.
I don't understand it, but he does, and he feeds off of it.
All season, people have been ripping KG, but only because of his previous body of work. It definitely takes awhile to get used to the slower, laterally challenged KG, but it seems as though people are starting to get that he's still extremely valuable to his team.
There's something to admire about a dude whose played a whole season on one leg and never complained. Throughout his career he's been compared to a lot of players, especially before he won a championship in 2008. We heard that he couldn't win on the big stage like C-Webb or Dirk and didn't possess true greatness that leads to championship rings like Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.
But if there's one thing that KG has always possessed, its heart. Trust me I hate cliches, but there's really no alternative word, no adjective I can find in the thesaurus that can truly embody what KG is all about.
All season long KG has had a problem guarding mobile stretch 4's. Nevertheless, I don't think his heart will allow him to let Antawn Jamison and his array flip shots beat the Celtics.
Doc Rivers is a better coach than Mike Brown. I don't need to look at stats. I won't look at records. I'm not John Hollinger or a computer nerd.
I just look at the Cavaliers and the Celtics at the end of games, out of time outs, and in pressure situations. I see one coach who actually draws up plays with first, second, and third options. And I see another that says"...ummmmm lets just give the rock to Lebron and get out of his way....ooo and I better get shooters out there if the opponents double team."
If Mike Brown plays J.J Hickson a lot in this series, I will think he's smart. If he does a lot of cross matching and allows Lebron James to roam on defense, I will think even more highly of him.
But can an old coach who is seemingly stuck on bad habits learn new tricks? People talk about the Celtics season and express disappoint, as they are dissatisfied with their tendency to take games for granted throughout the season.
I respectfully disagree with those feelings. Through multiple injuries and constant scrutiny, the Celtics have been a top eight team in the league all season, so give the coach credit. There's been much speculation that Rivers may be coaching his last season with the Celtics, citing that he would prefer to watch his son, whose already a high school basketball star, and his other children grow up.
In any event, I think this is a series in which Doc Rivers will prove that he's not just a good, but a great coach.
Sometimes I think Lebron James is too cool and not in a good way. Reporters ask him all the time if he feels pressure late in games. He responds "No I don't believe in pressure." Well, this series is really going to test that theory.
It's all or nothing for Lebron. The city of Cleveland is depending on him to erase past playoff memories. The summer of 2010 and his free agent status is quickly approaching. So what's going to happen when the Cavs get tested? The dancing, the signs after three point makes will probably dissipate.
And Lebron will feel something.
We won't call it pressure, we won't prescribe to a school of thought he doesn't believe in. But he'll feel something, and we'll see how he responds to it.