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Celtics Looking For First Road Win

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Boston Celtics (2-0) at Cleveland Cavaliers (0-2)
Round 2, Game #3
Saturday, May 10
8:00 PM ET
TV:  ABC
Quicken Loans Arena
 
 
Cavaliers Blog:    Cavalier Attitude      
 
The Celtics and Cavaliers have both been here before.  The Celtics were up 2-0 on the Hawks and were expected to sweep them when they simply fell apart on the road, losing all 3 games in Atlanta.  The Cavs were down 0-2 to the Pistons last year and came back to win the series in 6 games.  The Celtics can't afford to sleep on the Cavs and they can't count on the Celtics playing like they did in Atlanta.
 
After struggling in game 1, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen both came back to play well in game 2 but LeBron James continued to struggle as he shot just 6-24 from the field.  Just how much of his struggles have been the Celtics defense and how much have been mental on LeBron's part we don't know, but it is a safe bet that he will bounce back once he gets on his home court with the crowd behind him.  The Celtics need to be ready for a lot more energy and effort from LeBron in this game. 
 
The Celtics were a very good road team in the regular season with a 32-10 road record yet they are still winless on the road in the playoffs.  They say that the playoffs don't start until a team wins on the road and so the Celtics are still waiting ofr the playoffs to begin.  The Celtics will need to come out with focus and play the same tough team defense that they have in Boston in order to get a win in this one. 
 
  
Probable Starting Matchups 
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West
SG:  Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak
SF:  Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
PF:  Kevin Garnett vs Anderson Varejao
C:    Kendrick Perkins vs Zydrunas Ilgauskas
 
Key Players

  Vs 
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
So far in this series this has been a defensive matchup with each playing great defense on the other.  Pierce got his game going in game 2 but LeBron continued to struggle.   We know that LeBron will want to come out strong at home and so Pierce (and Posey) need to be ready to step up their defense on him. 

  Vs 
Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak  
LeBron should have a better game at home and the Celtics will need to up their games as well.  One of the keys to the game will be for Ray to get on track and be able to exploit the matchup with Wally and stretch the floor for the others. 

Honorable Mention
Rajon Rondo and Sam Cassell  vs Delonte West and Daniel Gibson
The point guard matchups will continue to be important.  Doc has been using Sam more in this series and has been keeping him in down the stretch.  The two point guards for the Celtics have been out playing the point guards for the Cavs so far and that needs to continue. 

Keys to the Game
Focus  When the Celtics went to Atlanta, they lost their focus and allowed the Hawks to take them out of their game.  The Celtics lost their defensive focus and let the Hawks get to the hoop at will.  They also lost their offensive focus and didn't move the ball with each player trying to do it on his own.  The Celtics can't let the Cavs and the crowd break their focus on either end of the floor. 

Be Aggressive  The Celtics must come out aggressively and must play hard for 48 minutes.  They have to be aggressive in going after loose balls, attacking the rim and going after rebounds.  They can't let the Cavs get 2nd and 3rd chances and they can't let the Cavs out hustle them.  They can't settle for quick jumpers like they did in Atlanta.  They have to drive to the rim and try to get a high percentage shot or draw the foul. 

Defense  Defense has been the key in the first two games and the Celtics must continue to play the swarming team defense that has gotten them here.   They forgot their defense in Atlanta.  Let's hope they remember it in Cleveland. 

X-Factor
Effort and Intensity  If the Celtics put out the same effort and intensity in this game that they do at home, they should be able to win it.  If they come out flat and let the Cavs out-play them like they did in Atlanta, they won't pull it out.