After an impressive 10 point win to even the series, one in which Rondo further cemented his burgeoning dominance of this series (29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists) Boston took the series lead.
But the way in which they took it was down right brutal.
Opening up a lead in the 2nd half, the Celtics destroyed Cleveland playing them back for their worst play off loss ever by giving the Cav's their historic 32 point loss. In a stunning display of team work, the green and white had 6 players in double figures while limiting the play of LeBron James to 4 of 15 shooting for 15 points.
Each team will be ready for the next game, that is not in any doubt. For Boston they have stated that they are playing this next game like it is game 7 and it is their backs up against the wall, to avoid playing a real game 7 in Cleveland. For the Cavs the have little choice, they face elimination. If they are ever going to bring it now is the time. But you have to do it in Boston against a team that is playing together and limiting their opponents key player (James).
I believe that Cleveland has chronic match up problems against this Boston team and have had since 07 - 08. Both teams have changed their line ups and shored up their weaker points, but the one thing that is Cleveland's greatest asset is also a fundamental weakness.
That is LeBron James.
If you limit or contain LeBron James it falls upon his team mates to step up and dominate. Antwan Jamison is the only Cavs player I feel could do that. Mo Williams is way to in consistent and has a bad habit of cooling down when he needs to heat up. Shaq has developed as a great piece of the puzzle for Cleveland but his dominant play does not decide games like it used to. Essentially the Cavaliers are a team with a very good players and one amazing and dominant player. When James misfires like he did in game 5, the players around James lack the cumulative strength to dominate as he does. Until the Cav's recruit a player(s) to complement LeBron in the way Scottie Pippen complemented and enhanced Jordan's game - the Cavs will not win a championship.
Boston unlike Cleveland has a team of players playing like a team. Rajon Rondo has emerged as a force at point guard, his play has confounded and mismatched Cleveland at every turn so far. In trying to limit Rondo, that takes the defensive focus off Garnett, Allen and Peirce. Now you have to stop four very different and equally talented players all heating up. The result of which is the massacre that occurred in game five. Boston has no outright superstar but it does have at least 4 players who can contribute at a high level together.
Give me those four guys and the rest of that team over LeBron any time.
Green and white for life.