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Celtics and Cavaliers Set For a Pivotal Game 6 at the Garden

Thursday, May 13, 2010



Venue: TD Garden

Kevin Garnett spoke with TNT's David Aldridge after the Celtics trounced the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-88 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and my favorite line from him was: "We cannot come back here."

The last 24 hours have been nothing but a gigantic preview of what is to take place tonight: Game 6 in Boston - a game with so many storylines it wouldn't shock me to see the money-hungry NBA place this one on pay-per-view as if it were the next Manny Pacquiao fight. Will Cleveland's title hopes come to an abrupt end tonight? Will the Celtics close it out on their home floor? Will this thing be forced back to Ohio? Are the Celtics capable of replicating their stellar performance from Game 5? Will this be LeBron James's final game in a Cavalier uniform?

Oh, LeBron. I had to type his name sooner or later. If this guy loves attention as much as everyone claims he does, then Christmas came early with the Game 5 loss. LeBron's lackluster 15-point performance caused a media firestorm, as he was berated for his lack of aggression in one of, quite honestly, the most pivotal games in the history of his entire franchise. ESPN couldn't get enough of it, and Twitter spurred the hate-craze on even further.

But enough about LeBron, in that sense. Apparently, he "spoils a lot of people" with his play (his words, not mine). Well, how exactly will he play tonight? Can anyone accurately predict this? I say no. Will we see a repeat of his 21-point first quarter in Game 3? Or will we see a continuation of his subpar effort from Game 5, as if Wednesday was just one gigantic pause button? I can't tell you.

What I can tell you though, is that the Celtics understand the importance of closing out the Cavaliers tonight. This is their Game 7. You know, I know it, and Glen Davis knows it:

If we lose [Game 6] at home, we've got to go back to Cleveland, and even though we know we can win there, at the same time, that's their house, that's their environment," Celtics forward Glen Davis said at Wednesday's practice. "It's just a tough situation. Sure, it's hard to win three games in a row, but at the same time, the Suns did it. They pulled it out. The Lakers did it. Orlando did it. We've got to win this game."

Projected Starters:

Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Cavaliers: Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, LeBron James, Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O'Neal

Some Keys to the Game:

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It: The Celtics were crisp, efficient, and downright lethal on Tuesday night, and it worked in a big way. Everyone played well, and we can only hope that each player finds himself in a similar groove to that of Tuesday night. Ray Allen was burying three-pointers, Kevin Garnett was wrecking Jamison in the post, Paul Pierce was the most aggressive he's been all series, and Rajon Rondo filled in the cracks. It was a winning formula, and a repeat performance tonight would go a long way.

Mismatch(es): Rondo vs. Whoever The Cavaliers Throw At Him and Garnett vs. Jamison are two matchups the Celtics need to continuously exploit throughout tonight's game. Garnett's short fadeaway jumper over Jamison down on the block got him going early in Game 5, and he slowly extended his range outward as the game went along. Jamison has no chance of blocking that shot, or any shot of KG's, for that matter. And regarding Rondo, he's steadily becoming an expert at knowing how to impose his will on a game. After a historic Game 4, he posted zero points and just three assists in the first half of Game 5, before exploding for 12 points and four assists in the third quarter. He's perfectly capable of dictating how and when he impacts the ball game.

Bench Brigade: Glen Davis poured in 15 huge points in Game 5, and Tony Allen added some worthy defense and a few baskets of his own, all on the heels of his 15-point, five-rebound effort in Game 4. He's arguably at his best when he's placed next to Rondo and the Celtics find themselves creating transition opportunities that allow TA to flourish in the open court. As for Davis, he's scored at times, he's rebounded at times, he's taken charges at times, he's dived to the floor and made the Earth shudder a few times, on top of pretty much any other positive impact a player can have. Like UPS, these two have delivered.

Will the Old Rasheed Wallace Please Stand Up?: Why do I keep sticking up for this guy? I'm not even sure I know the reasons for it at this point. However, when I was at Game 4 on Sunday, I couldn't help but notice that at the start of the fourth quarter, he looked ready to go. Even before he checked in he was bouncing up and down on his toes, getting himself ready. And then he entered the game and actually did some nice things, which might not have been noticeable in the box score. So that gave me confidence going into Game 5. Then of course, he started fouling everyone. Although, I will say, on that one play, technically Mo Williams hit him. Anyway, is anyone else in favor of a retro performance by Rasheed tonight? Hey, it can't hurt.

Let's. Go. Celtics.


Who Will Win Game 6 Tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Celtics - This series ends tonight.
    (823 votes)
  • 10%
    Cavaliers - We're headed back to Cleveland.
    (98 votes)
921 votes total Vote Now

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