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It's Win or Go Home


Cleveland Cavaliers (3-3) at  Boston Celtics (3-3)
Round 2, Game #7
Sunday, May 18
3:30 PM ET
TD Banknorth Garden 
Chat   l  Game Thread

Cavaliers Blog:    Cavalier Attitude     

For the second series in a row, the Celtics face elimination as they try to close out their series in a game 7 on their home court.   Only 4 times in franchise history have the Celtics played two game 7's in the same season and these Celtics are on their second game 7 in only the second round.   In the first round, the Celtics dispatched the Hawks by 34 points to win that series 4 games to 3. 
 The Celtics have never lost a series after being up 3-2 and hopefully that trend will continue in this game.   The home teams have been dominant in the second round with just the Pistons and the Lakers winning on the road but the Celtics can't expect to win just because they are on their home court.   The Lakers closed out their series on the road and the Cavs are a dangerous team as LeBron is capable of taking over a game even on the road.       
The Celtics will need to be aggressive from the opening tip and play 48 minutes as these Cavs won't be as easy to beat as the Hawks were in the first round.  The Cavs are the reigning Eastern Conference champions, although 3/5 of their starting lineup are new to the team, and they have played the Celtics tough in the Garden in two of the games already. The Celtics must play the defense that made them the top defensive team in the league this season and they must find their offense that has been mysteriously absent during this series. 

More After the Jump 

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 Ben Wallace   
C     Kendick Perkins  vs  Zydrunas Ilgauskas   
  Scott Pollard, Ankle, out

  Eric Snow, ankle, out
 Daniel Gibson, shoulder, out 
Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West
Rondo was the star of game 5 but virtually disappeared in game 6.  The Celtics will need Rondo to be aggressive on both ends of the court.  His defense on Delonte was one of the reasons the Cavs struggled in game 5 and they will need that from him again in this game.  He also has to be aggressive on the offensive end to keep the defenses from slacking off him to double on others. 

Ray Allen vs Wally Szczerbiak
The Celtics need Ray Allen to find his shot.  They need him to get going to jump start their faltering offense.   Ray also has to stay at home on Wally on defense to prevent him from hitting the big 3's capable of changing the momentum in the game. 

Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Pierce will need to continue to play tough one on one defense on LeBron but he also has to be more aggressive on the offensive end in taking the ball to the basket and make LeBron work more on defense as well.   

Keys to the Game
Rebound  This is a big key as when the Celtics get more rebounds they win and when they don't, they lose.  The Celtics must do a better job to keep the Cavs off the offensive boards as second chance points were killing the Celtics in game 5.  Rebounding is effort and desire and the Celtics will need both if they want to win this game and advance. 

Ball Movement  The Celtics must move the ball and find the open man to get open shots.  But then , they must make those shots.  The Celtics haven't been able to score and this could be a result of being tired and not having the legs under them for jumpers.  They have to be more aggressive in going to the hoop and trying to get the ball inside. 

Defense    They couldn't ask for better defense than to hold the Cavs to 33% as they did in game 5 and they will need to continue to play tough team defense to keep the rest of the team from beating them even if LeBron is playing well.   Hopefully a good defense will key a better offense. 

Play 48 Minutes  The Celtics have played well in spurts in some games but to win this game, they must play well for all 48 minutes.  They have to come out aggressive from the start and not let up.  The bench needs to play well to give the starters some rest and the starters can't let up when they get a lead.  The Cavs are too dangerous to spot a lead or to allow them to come back when they are down. 

Coaching   Doc needs to make adjustments to overcome the problems scoring that the Celtics have had in this series.  He made a good decision to play Eddie House instead of Sam in game 6 and needs to play House again in this game.  The ball movement stops when Sam is running the point and the offense keeps moving when Eddie is in.  It is very puzzling that Doc hasn't played Leon in the past 2 games.  He has played very well in the playoffs and has earned the minutes.  Doc's decision to play Big Baby down the stretch in game 6 is questionable at best. 

Home Court Advantage and

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