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Celtics Look for Revenge Against Cavs

  Cleveland Cavaliers (9-8) at Boston Celtics (13-2) Sunday, December 2
12:30 PM ET
TV:   NBA LP ch 751, CSN HD, FSN Ohio
TD Banknorth Garden

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Keys to the Game:
Team Play.  In their last matchup,  there was too much individual play and not enough team play.  They have to play team ball, make the extra pass, and find the open man.  They can't get caught up in ISO's and trying to to too much individually.  When they play as a team on both ends of the court, they are very hard to stop.  It is when they start trying to do to much individually that they have problems.   

Defense. The Cavs got too many open looks and easy baskets in the last meeting.  The Celtics have to defend the paint as well as the perimeter.  The Cavs have several excellent 3-point shooters and the Celtics have to guard them out beyond the arc as they tend to give up too many 3's.    They allowed the Heat to get back into the game from beyond the arc, leaving Jason Williams open time after time.  They also have to keep the Cavs out of the paint and not give up so many easy baskets inside. 

Rebound.    The Celtics were out rebounded 47-40 in their last meeting.  The only reason for the Celtics to be out rebounded is if they aren't putting out the effort it takes to box out and grab the rebounds. We are also a better rebounding team with Perk in the game as he tends to box out very well, allowing his teammates to grab the rebounds.    The Celtics have to be aggressive on the boards and put the effort out to limit the Cavs second chance points. 

Use the Home Court Advantage  The Garden is becoming one of the toughest places for teams to play.   The crowd has been loud and has given the Celtics a boost with their energy.  This game is for revenge and so the crowd should be up for it and give the Celtics a lift  and energize them.       

Get the Ball Inside.    By the end of games, it seems like all of the jumpers are flat and stop falling, yet we still settle for jumpers. Against the Heat, all our jumpers were falling way short and this allowed the Heat to cut a 28 point lead to 7.   They need to get the ball inside and either get the shot or draw the foul.   They need to go to KG inside more at the end of games and drive to the basket instead of settling for jumpers when their legs just aren't there to hit them. 

Game Notes. 
The Cavs have lost their last two games without James.   He is listed as day to day and will be a game time decision.  The Cavs want to send a message to the Celtics that they are still the team to beat in the East so if there is any way LeBron can play, I expect him to be in the game. 

The Celtics are completing 4 games in 5 days.  The Knicks game was a laugher and the starters got plenty of rest, but the Heat game was a hard fought game to the end with Ray Allen again playing over 40  minutes.  .   Add to that the travel to and from Cleveland and Miami, and fatigue may figure into this game for the Celtics.   

  Hopefully they will come out with energy and not let up.  In the first game against the Cavs, they came out flat and then played catch up all game.   Against the Heat, they came out with energy but then let up on defense and got away from the game plan and let the Heat get back into the game.  They will need to play with intensity for 48 minutes if they want to stay undefeated at home .  
Key Matchup   
Rajon Rondo and Daniel Gibson are both second year point guards and both are quick and good defenders.  Gibson is an excellent 3 point shooter and is shooting 52% from beyond the arc.  Rondo held him to 3-12 shooting and only 1-5 beyond the arc in their last meeting.    Gibson scored a team-high 24 points and dished out a regular season career-high seven assists in the Cavs loss to Toronto.   Rondo  will need to defend him well especially if LeBron isn't playing. 
This should be a mismatch in favor of the Celtics but in the last game, Gooden was 11-15 with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Garnett had 19 points and only 5 rebounds.   KG only took 2 shots in the final 9 minutes of the fourth quarter and another 2 shots in OT.  The Celtics should look to go more to KG on offense and he has to do a better job of defending Gooden.
X Factor
The X Factor in this game is LeBron James.  He sat out the Raptor's game but was planning to practice on Saturday and is listed as a game time decision.    It is obvious that the Cavs are a different team without him in the lineup.  I would rather he play and the Celtics beat the Cavs at full steam than to have an asterisk on the game.  We came close to beating them with LeBron in Cleveland and with the Celtics playing very poorly.  We should be able to beat them with or without LeBron in Boston.  However, fatigue may be a problem for the Celtics  with 4 games in 5 nights and the travel in between. 

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