C's Looking to Close Out Series with Gm. 7 Mentality

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Cleveland Cavaliers (2-3) at Boston Celtics (3-2)
Thursday, May 13
8:00 PM ET
Round 2, Game 6
TD Garden
Today's Referees:   Monty McCutchen,  Bob Delaney,  Eddie F. Rush 

The series now once again shifts back to Boston with the Celtics one game away from eliminating the Cavs. So far, this series has been totally unpredictable with home court meaning little. 

After blowing out the Cavs in Cleveland in game 4, the Celtics now have two chances to get one win to close out the series and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. They were in this same spot last year, up 3-2 on the Magic, and lost game 7 on their home court. But,there is a major difference between that series and this one. KG is back and playing well. 

The Celtics are saying that they are looking at this like game 7 and don't want to go back to Cleveland. Of course, they also said that they were looking at game 3 like it was game 7 and then allowed the Cavs to hand them their worst home playoff defeat in Celtics history. Let's hope they play like it really is game 7 and not come out flat like they did in game 3. 

They can't take a chance on what might happen if they go back to Cleveland and have to play a game 7 on the Cavs home court, even though they have won there twice. The Cavs are bound to wake up, and Lebron is due for another big game. The Celtics have got to come out focused and finish this off now. 

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
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Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams

Shooting Guard
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Ray Allen vs Anthony Parker

Small Forward
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Paul Pierce vs LeBron James

Power Forward
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Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison

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Kendrick Perkins vs Shaquille O'Neal

Key Matchups
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Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams

Rondo's aggressiveness and all around play continues to be the key for the Celtics. The Cavs have thrown everyone on their team including LeBron James at Rondo in an effort to stop him. In game 4, their efforts were focused so much on trying to stop Rondo that they let everyone else on the Celtics go off. Rondo has been a thorn in their sides and hopefully he will continue to control the pace of the game and dominate in this game as well. 

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Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison

KG has been shooting the ball well this matchup favors the Celtics. We are seeing the KG of old in this series, rather than the old KG. This is a matchup that the Celtics need to exploit because KG has been able to get his shot off over Jamison pretty much any time he wants. 

Honorable Mention
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Paul Pierce vs LeBron James

Paul Pierce finally broke out and had a very good game in game 5 while LeBron had a terrible game. Limiting LeBron's production will be a team effort but the bulk of it falls on the Celtics' Captain and he has done a good job so far. Hopefully Pierce's offensive game will continue to be on track in this game. 

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The benches continue to play a big part in this series. The Celtics' bench has been coming through for them with Big Baby, Sheed, and Tony all coming up big at one time and others contributing as well. The Celtics need to continue to get good production and defense from their bench. 

Keys to the Game

DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE! I can't say it enough, defense has been the key to the Celtics 3 wins so far and it is the key to winning this game and the championship. The team that plays the best defense most consistently will win the title. Everyone is wondering what has been wrong with the Cavs and it can be explained in two words: Celtics Defense. 

Rebound It's no coincidence that the team that has won the rebounding battle in each game has won the game. Rebounding is the result of desire and effort and the team that wants it most will end up grabbing more rebounds. Let's hope it is the Celtics that want this game more and will crash the boards to give themselves second chance points and limit the Cavs fast break opportunities. 

Focus for 48 Minutes - The Celtics must come out focused and be aggressive right from the start of the game. They can't allow bad calls and no calls to affect how they play. Just like in game 5 they have to keep pressing from start to finish. On the offensive end they have to focus on running the plays, moving the ball and playing team ball. On the defensive end, they have to keep their focus and play the lock down defense that has left the Cavs dazed and confused more than once. With a team like the Cavs, they have to focus from start to finish with no let up. 

X Factors
Focus and Officiating

Once again, the X Factors become the Celtics ability to come out focused, especially on the defensive end and to remain focused throughout the game with no let ups. The officiating in game 5 was the best I've seen in the playoffs so far. They missed some things on both ends, but for the most part they called the game fairly. In game 2, the officiating was terrible, but the Celtics stayed focused and were able to come away with a win. The key will be whether the Celtics can stay focused even if the officiating is one sided. If they can stay focused, especially on defense, they will win regardless of the way the game is called.