Celtics Look to Take Control of Series with Gm 5 Win
at Boston Celtics (2-2) at Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2)
Tuesday, May 11
8:00 PM ET
Round 2, Game 5
Quicken Loans Arena
Today's Referees: Joey Crawford, Marc Davis, Greg Willard After being blown out in a historic loss on their home court, the Celtics bounced back to win game 4. When they commit to a focus on defense, the Cavs haven't been able to get their game going. The energy has seemingly alternated between the teams with the Celtics having more energy in the first half of game 1, game 2 and game 4 and the Cavs boasting more energy in the second half of game 1, and game 3.
The Celtics have had to play much of all 4 games in foul trouble while the Cavs have not had any players affect by fouls until Shaq in the 4th quarter in game 4. In game 3, the Celtics allowed the foul trouble and the officiating to affect them and they just seemed to lose their focus. They have to keep their focus even when the fouls are being called in one direction. The Celtics proved in game 2 that if they keep their focus, they can win, even when the calls are going against them for the most part.
Paul Pierce has yet to have a good game in this series. Ray Allen has struggled in the last 2 games. The Celtics certainly can play better, and hopefully both Ray and Pierce can get going in this game and take some of the pressure off of Rondo to have to be super human in order for the Celtics to win.
Each team has won one game at home and one on the road. The Celtics proved in games 1 and 2 that they can play on the road and are capable of winning in Cleveland. But, the Celtics have also been an enigma, playing with no intensity whatsoever in game 3. If they come out focused and play the swarming defense that they are capable of, they can win this game and take control of the series. The question is, which Celtics team will show up?
Rajon Rondo 17.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 11.4 APG, +26.3
Ray Allen 17.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, +14.6
Kendrick Perkins 5.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, .9 APG, +11.4
Paul Pierce 16.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, +13.3
Kevin Garnett 17.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.4 APG, +20.9
Mo Williams 14.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 5.6 APG, +13.8
Anthony Parker 7.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.4 APG .391 3P%, +8.2
Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams
This continues to be the biggest advantage that the Celtics have. Rondo has been the best player in this series and hopefully he will continue to be so. So far, the Cavs haven't been able to come up with an answer for him as he has dominated every matchup they have thrown at him. LeBron has said that he wants to try covering Rondo in game 5 but that leaves Pierce and Ray Allen to go off. It also will take some away from LeBron's offense having to chase Rondo around on defense. The one drawback would be that since LeBron isn't allowed to get into foul trouble by league decree, some of those fouls will go in Rondo's direction and he is the one player the Celtics can't afford to have in foul trouble.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Paul Pierce has spent much of this series so far in foul trouble. He has yet to have a good game in this series and this would be a great time for it to happen, especially if LeBron is moved to cover Rondo. Pierce will also need to continue to play tough defense on LeBron to try to limit the damage he does.
Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
So far, Kevin Garnett has dominated this matchup. KG has been able to get his shot over Jamison at will and has gotten to the hoop quite often so far. It would be nice to see more of the same in this game. The Celtics need to try to exploit this matchup even more.
Celtics Bench vs Cavaliers Bench
The Celtics bench came through for them in game 4 (23 points, 7 rebounds) while the Cavs bench, not so much(11 points, 7 rebounds). The Celtics will once again need their bench to step up in this game and they will need to step up on defense to again limit their counterparts.
Key Stats from Game 4
Rebounds: Celtics 47, Cavs 33.
FG%: Celtics 45%, Cavs 43%
Free Throws: Celtics 28-40, Cavs 29-39
Turnovers: Celtics 12, Cavs 17
Assists: Celtics 19, Cavs 19
Points in the Paint Celtics 50 Cavs 40
Fast Break Points Celtics 23, Cavs 7 Analysis: The Celtics once again out rebounded the Cavs and it isn't a coincidence that the team that has won the battle of the boards has won the game.
Missed free throws are affecting both teams. The Celtics missed 12 free throws and the Cavs missed 10. The Celtics have got to make their free throws count when they get to the line, especially since the Cavs will probably double their attempts once again in game 5.
Both teams struggled from beyond the arc with the Celtics shooting 1-14 (Ray 1-8) and the Cavs 4-21 (James 0-5). When the 3's aren't falling the Celtics have to take the ball to the basket and forget about the outside shot.
The Celtics dominated in all the hustle categories and need to do the same in game 5. They have to get to the loose balls, take the ball to the basket, and run every chance they get.
Keys to the Game Defense Defense Defense Defense wins championships and they can't forget that for even a minute during the game. When the Celtics play the kind of lock down defense that they are capable of, the Cavs simply have no answer for it. If the Celtics are to win this game and this series, they must play defense from start to finish.
Rebound Defense is the most important key with rebounding very close behind. It is no coincidence that the team that has won the rebounding battle has won the game each time. Rondo's 18 rebounds proves my theory that rebounding is mostly effort, desire and hustle. The Celtics must have the desire and put out the effort to grab every rebound. They can't allow the Cavs to get easy points off offensive rebounds or to trigger the break off defensive rebounds. The Celtics must control the boards.
Focus for 48 Minutes
The Celtics can't afford to lose focus for even a short period of time because the Cavs can get hot at any moment and can cut into a lead in a hurry. In game 3, the Celtics let the one sided calls take away their focus. They have to be prepared for bad calls and no calls again and they can't let themselves get side tracked complaining about the officiating. They have to focus on playing tough defense, taking the ball to the basket and moving the ball and finding the open man. If they do that for 48 minutes, there is a good chance they will win, in spite of how the officials call the game.
Play Team Ball - The Celtics won't win if they try to do too much individually. They must play team ball on both the offensive and defensive ends. They have to move the ball and find the open man. When the ball sticks too much, the Celtics struggle to score. They have to be on the same page and play as a team.
X-Factors Focus and the Officials
Which team will show up? Will it be the focused team that plays smothering defense and plays team ball? Or, will it be the unfocused team that forgets how to play defense and plays selfish ball? Back in Cleveland, it wouldn't surprise me to see Bennett Salvatore back on the crew. Regardless, the Celtics can't expect any favors from the referees and can't afford to allow bad calls to take away their focus. They have been in foul trouble every single game so far and need to just play through it and not let that take them out of their games.