They say that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. So lets understand history.
- Just over two weeks ago we were sitting pretty, talking about sweeping the Atlanta Hawks and looking ahead to the next round. We were laughing at the Pistons as they struggled with the 76ers. Three road losses later and we weren't laughing anymore. We became what we hated, that overconfident veteran team that thought they could blow out an opponent simply by showing up. Lesson learned: never let up, regardless of the opponent or score. The lingering question: can this team turn around that trend and win on the road? The Hawks series created a strong storyline for game 3. There's every reason to believe that the Cavs can come back and win at home. But if they do, the effect becomes amplified by the Celtics woeful road performance in the playoffs thus far.
- Anyone want to know why LeBron didn't look worried at the end of last night's game? Probably because he remembers last year. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons won the first two games at home while holding LeBron to just 10 points and 19 points on a combined 12-34 shooting. The Cavs won the next 4 and represented the East in the Finals, leaving the Pistons wondering what truck just hit them. Don't think for a minute that this one is over or that LeBron can't come back and light it up. Remember, in game 3 of that series, he had 32 points. In game 5, he went for 48 in a double overtime win.
- Of course, that's not to say that LeBron can't have a bad series. In the Finals last year, he was held to an average of 22 points in a 4 game sweep. The Spurs used a lot of the same tactics that the Celtics are currently using against him. Quoting Adrian Wojnarowski: "For now, Posey has turned into James’ Bruce Bowen, and Kevin Garnett protects the basket the way Tim Duncan did. The Spurs and Celtics share a strength of serious-minded veterans who never let down defensively, who adhere with discipline and dedication to schemes."
Can the Celtics finish this series out the same way they have started? Only if they remember the lessons learned from round one and gleen insight from the example of last year's playoffs.