Disappointing, embarrassing, disturbing, and disgusting.
These were all words that were muttered by respective members of the Cleveland Cavaliers fan base after the team's poor showing in Game Two at home.
After laying a big goose egg in Game Two, the Cleveland Cavaliers must make a statement in Boston on Friday night.
This statement will have to show the analysts, doubters, and the rest of the NBA that the Cavaliers are really a force to be reckoned with in the 2010 NBA Playoffs.
Despite owning the best record in the regular season, and the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA playoffs, there are still many people out there that feel the Cavaliers are third best. And the Cleveland Cavaliers haven't given them any reason to think differently.
Game Two proved to be a much more physical battle, and this over-hyped series finally began to show the true hatred that these two teams have for each other.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, a half-court, physical game was just what the doctor ordered for the Boston Celtics.
If the Cavaliers hope to jump back on their path to an NBA Championship, they will have to follow my three keys to success in game three:
Anyone who watched Game Two could easily see that the Cavaliers, especially LeBron James, were not their usual aggressive selves.
It was not until the insertion of J.J. Hickson that the Cavaliers finally began to exert some sort of aggressive, basket-attacking nature. This very same aggressive nature is what led them to their second consecutive 60-win season this year.
If the Cavaliers hope to regain their momentum in this series, it all starts with No. 23 and his rim-attacking ability.
I understand that LeBron James went nuts against the Bulls knocking down jump shot after jump shot, but when you are the most physical, unstoppable force in the game, you go to the hole.
Not only does LeBron hurt the team's inside game when he is shooting jump shots, but he is destroying the rest of the team's ability to get into a rhythm.
And when you surround a superstar with complementary shooters who cannot gain a rhythm, the team will continue to be ineffective.
So in order for the Cavaliers to set the tone, aggression in Game Three is a must.
Run, Run, Run....Even If It Means No Shaq!
I'm sorry, but if I have to watch an aging Shaq continue to miss jump hooks and wide-open lay-ups, I may cry.
Shaq WAS the most dominant post force in NBA history, today he is just a shell of his old self.
With that said, he is stopping the Cavaliers from doing the one thing that can easily wear down an aging Celtics team: running.
Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins both have injuries that involve their ability to play in a fast pace game. If the Cavaliers want to take advantage of this, they will push the ball up and down the court.
In order for the Cavaliers to run they will need to insert a more athletic line-up. This means more Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson, and less Shaq.
Running will allow the Cavaliers to minimize the effects of LeBron's injured elbow because he will be able to slash to the hole instead of taking the ball strong into three waiting defenders.
Furthermore, running against the Celtics will cause their older players to scramble, which will in turn open up more shots for Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, and Mo Williams.
Play Help Defense
The Cavaliers help defense has been atrocious in the playoffs this season, and it wasn't any better in game two against the Celtics.
Poor player rotation and bad positioning allowed a role player like Rasheed Wallace to look like an All-Star all over again. His three-point outburst in Game Two allowed the Celtics to open the floor for the rest of the players.
To combat against his shooting, the Cavaliers will need to use a longer player like Big Z to put a hand in his face and get inside of his head. It just so happens that these two have history, so getting inside of his head will be easy.
After that, the Cavaliers need to address this problem with positioning. There is no way that Kevin Garnett, at this stage in his career, should be getting wide open back-door lobs from the perimeter.
Antawn Jamison's defense was horrible against Garnett. He gave up position and looked like he was attempting to hold his hand instead of putting a body on him.
I am sure that Mike Brown had the team in the practice facility working on all of these things I have just mentioned, which is why I have faith that the Cavaliers will come out and send a message to the Celtics in Game Three.
Boston stole one in Cleveland, so the Cavaliers must go to Boston and do the same thing to regain home court advantage in this series.
My prediction for Friday night: LeBron scores 41 in a 102-87 Cavaliers victory.
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