Pierce, looking back at the sight of point guard Devin Harris repeatedly beating the Celtics off the break, made one easy prediction.
"If we play like this against Cleveland, then we won't be happy when we go back to the locker room," he said.
Defense, as usual, will make all the difference.
"Breakdowns have been a lot of our problem," Kendrick Perkins [stats] said. "But ‘Ticket' anchors our defense. He brings that intensity that makes us so good. When you're missing the defensive player of the year from last year, that takes a lot of work from everyone else to make up the difference."
Added Rajon Rondo [stats]: "We can't overhelp. Delonte (West) and Mo Williams are both great scorers, too. We can't just overload on LeBron and think that is going to take care of the problem."
I'm not a big fan of making excuses, especially before the game even begins. However, I can't help but give the Cavs the edge in this one.
Yes, the Celtics will be properly motivated for home court and perhaps to get back at the Cavs for the last game. But without KG, how much of a chance do we have against LeBron? If the Nets and Pistons can top 100 points on us, are we really going to shut down the Cavs?
Maybe the key is setting my expectations low. If we lose, well... nobody would be overly shocked by that. If we win it would be a fantastic surprise.