Saturday, May 8, 2010
The favour returned: 124 - 95 Cleveland.
While Celtics fans enjoyed the post victory after glow that only comes from routing a an elite eastern team and hated rival - we all knew this series is going to give us more.
It it will not be pretty basketball and there
be ugly losses both teams. In game 3 it was Boston's turn, going down 124 - 95.
Boston had to expect a Cav's team out for blood, with their backs to the wall and robbed of home court. The Cavs don't like getting shown up like they did in game 2, especially at home. Being 2 -1 down in a play off series is not an option for either team. And today the Cav's brought the fire . They out rebounded and out scored a Celtics team that gave away way too many points due to a lack of stops on defense leading to the worst home play off loss ever for the green and white.
Wow. And ow.
Give credit where it is due.Cleveland are a quality team who have the tools to win the title. Cleveland has made all it's player acquisitions with a dual goal in mind; win a title and retain Lebron James with a long term contract. There is more to lose for the Cav's than a shot at glory with a loaded team. Cleveland could lose James to greener pastures if this campaign fails, where a title is more assured and the city is more alluring. Losing this series could be potentially fatal for the future of Cavaliers as an elite eastern team.
The best time is now for the Celtics to win a title. They have to feel the urgency. The veterans must realise this is their time. Not next or they year after when injuries could be potentially career ending and the stars are a little older. They can't rely on their 07 - 08 champion swagger to get them over the line. They need the steel that I saw in their eyes when they took game 2 at the Q. To paraphrase Paul Peirce after game 1 they need to play every game like it is game 7 and they are ahead by 2. More than any other team (except for Charlotte in the regular season) Celtics of the past 3 years have always had the ability to confound and beat Lebron's Cleveland teams. Although the odds may have evened out some, the Celtics can still find weak points in the Cav's collective armour.
This series has more at stake for both teams and goes beyond the winner of this series most likely facing the Orlando Magic. These are two teams locked in a battle for the glory of the moment but also playing for what is to come. As a Celtics fan I know what their 09 - 10' is capable of, when the C's won game 2 they where playing like the 27 - 5 team that began the season. A span in which they handed Cleveland a loss to begin this seasons campaign.
This series is heading toward a bitter and hard fought game 7. If the physical laws of the NBA apply here, Boston should (and I stress should) come out with a resolve to even this series and make up for the humiliation of game 3. My money is on a pattern of decisive victories by 10 - 15 point margins at most, unless one the teams shoots 60% from the field like the Cav's did in game 3.
At the end of this series the winner will have achieved something special. Overcoming a hated rival, sending them to the off season with more questions than answers and changes to inevitably be made. Really it could be either team facing that scenario. But as a fan, I believe it will Boston going on to win.