It's Cleveland

The Boston Celtics will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference  Semi-Finals, which are scheduled to commence this Saturday. The time of Game 1 has not yet been announced. 

The Cavaliers just eliminated the Chicago Bulls by winning Game 5, 96-94. 

Here's a very rough scouting report, just to get the conversation going:

The Cavaliers obviously have their horse in LeBron James, but, unlike Dwyane Wade, he has a much better supporting cast around him. Mo Williams can hit shots; Antawn Jamison can be a beast on the boards; Anderson Varejao is a guaranteed headache; Shaquille O'Neal's still a wide body underneath; both Delonte West and Anthony Parker can knock 'em down from deep. 

The bigs in Cleveland's rotation (Shaq, Varejao, Jamison, Ilgauskas) are all going to play better than Jermaine O'Neal and Michael Beasley did, and the Cavs will receive much better point guard play from Williams than what the Heat got from Carlos Arroyo. 

Overall, the Celtics played very well against the Miami Heat, but they'll undoubtedly have their work cut out for them against the Cavs. Defense comes first, clearly. Is it possible to completely shut down LeBron? Most likely not. Paul Pierce, Tony Allen, and anyone else who sees time on him will have a heck of a time trying to slow him down, and the C's still need Pierce's offense on the other side. Ray Allen has to hit shots, or this is going to be a very long series...Or a very short one, depending on how you look at it. Rajon Rondo will have to make a concerted effort to dictate the pace of these games, and has to exploit fast break opportunities when they present themselves, while always being aware of LeBron James, who has that nasty habit of coming from behind and blocking your shot out of nowhere. 

Rebounding will be pivotal this series, as the likely candidates of Varejao, O'Neal, Ilgauskas, Jamison, and James will go head to head with Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. 

At this point, it's pretty unrealistic to expect much from Rasheed Wallace, but he's still there, meaning, there's still the faintest of hopes that he could have an impact on his series. If ever there was a time for him to step up and do something, this is it. If he decides to actually assert himself, he could be huge for the Celtics. 

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