Monday, May 12
8:00 PM ET
Quicken Loans Arena
In Game 3, the Celtics fell due to their mentality, which was settling rather than attacking, and Cleveland’s adjustments. Cleveland’s biggest adjustment was to attack the weak side when the Celtics loaded up ball-side on LeBron. James’ court vision picked apart the open seems in Boston’s sets, and got his teammates multiple open or one-on-one looks. LeBron himself shot just five of 16 from the floor, but the C’s failed to pay enough attention to the Cavalier role players.
If the Celtics want to silence the doubters, a Game 4 win tonight would work wonders. Should that transpire, the Celtics would hold a 3-1 series advantage and head back home to Boston, where they have yet to lose in the postseason, for a potential close-out Game 5. You’ve got to like the sound of that. It may be cliché to call a playoff game a "must-win," as all of them are, but let’s hope the green can get their act together on the road and avoid the type of offensive outing LeBron is virtually due for.
Read More After the Jump
C Kendrick Perkins / Zydrunas Ilgauskas
PF Kevin Garnett / Ben Wallace
SF Paul Pierce / LeBron James
SG Ray Allen / Wally Szczerbiak
PG Rajon Rondo / Delonte West
Key Matchup: Paul Pierce vs. LeBron James
Once again, the focal point is LeBron James. Pierce has done a marvelous job on the defensive end throughout the series, with a little assistance from the help defenders and James Posey, and has absolutely taken James out of his offensive groove. As previously mentioned, it seems as if he is due for an offensive outburst; Pierce and company need to make sure they continue to keep him in check, but at the same time not completely forget about his supporting cast.
Celtics X-Factor: Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo of the last two games is not the Rajon Rondo we all know and love. The Rondo that we all know and love is fierce, creates, and plays heady basketball. Over the past two games, he has been anything but that, as he has played one-on-one ball rather than improvising and making smart plays. Tonight in Game 4, it’s time for Rondo to get back into his groove and start playing the kind of ball that the C’s need him to play. It also wouldn’t hurt if Ray Allen joins him on that notion.
BOS – Scot Pollard (torn tendon in left ankle – out for season)
CLE – Eric Snow (sore left knee – out for season)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Defensive Rotations
- Attack, Don’t Settle
- Sense of Urgency
- Ball Control