2010 NBA Playoffs: The Cavs Aren't The Real Deal But The Celtics Are

Loscy LoscyContributor IMay 4, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 03:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics calls out instructions  while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 104-86 to tie the series 1-1. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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I’m not going to sit here and toot my own horn about how right on my predictions about the playoffs have been…but, toot toot...

And I’m not talking about just predicting winners and upsets, that’s easy.

I’m talking about story lines: how the series would unfold in front of us all.

But, like I said in the previous post, I take back everything I said about the Cavs. EVERYTHING.

The Cavs still are playing uninspired ball.

There is nothing that I have seen in either games, One or Two, that make me say, “Oh boy…Them there Cavs are good.”

The collapse in Game One was just that. The Celtics losing focus, and inability to execute on both offensive sets and defensive assignments.

It was nothing that the Cavs implemented in order to raise the frantic and chaotic play that the Celtics demonstrated—the Celtics were their own worst enemy in Game One.

But in Game Two, it was clear the Celtics stuck to a game plan and knew what to do.

Move the ball, get the ball in the hot hand (Ray, Sheed), deny LBJ entry passes, fill the lane/paint when LBJ even thinks about stepping in there, and forcing the other Cavaliers to earn their paycheck.

All of it worked. All of it.

I will admit that I was fooled, too.

I’ve watched a lot of basketball this season, and I finally thought that the Cavs had the team to compete.

Danny Ferry finally assembled a team that could match up against anyone, and that Mike Brown was actually demonstrating some coaching skills by putting the best lineup to match up against whoever was playing the Cavs on a particular night.

But something happened in the playoffs—even in the opening round against the lifeless Bulls.

The players stopped doing what they were doing, and Mike Brown stopped doing what he was doing.

The ball movement ceased. The dynamic lineups off the bench changed. Everything went back to status quo for the Cavs, and as a result, they got lucky to split the first two games at home.

LUCKY to split.

I don’t need to write about why the Celtics are winning. Well, okay, maybe a little. But quickly.

They are playing defense. Whoa. Is that it?

Yeah, pretty much.

The Celtics are playing defense again, and it’s so disruptive to the Cavs that LBJ and his teammates can’t get anything going. There is no momentum, there is no real opportunity for a run.

Yes, defense wins titles.

Even if the Celtics don’t win this series (more on this in a second), there is no way the Cavs are winning the title unless they snap out of this weird playoff induced coma that they have been in during the last two seasons.

If the Cavs can just play the way they were playing before the playoffs, they should be the clear favorites.

No one matches up well against them.

But Mike Brown’s puzzling reluctance to keep Shaq as the No. 2 option and stop running plays to free up Anthony Parker and Mo Williams is stunning.

The fact that Varejao and JJ Hickson aren’t playing together more is equally as puzzling. But hey, I’m not one to complain.

Rondo has been key in this series. He is controlling the tempo and playing terrific help defense. Rondo’s shoulders are growing as he continues to carry more of the team on them. It’s wonderful to see.

The Celtics can win this series. In fact, I now think that it is their series to lose.

What a refreshing thing to say: it’s the Celtics series to lose.