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Cavaliers at Celtics Game 3: Celtics look to get their first win as the series shifts to Boston

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The series now shifts to Boston where the Celtics are hoping that some home cooking will help them get their first victory in the series.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

at
Cleveland Cavaliers (2-0) at Boston Celtics (0-2)
Thursday, April 23, 2015
7:00 PM ET
Round 1 Game #3
TV: CSN-NE, FSOhio, TNT, TSN
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WMMS 100.7
TD Garden
Referees: James Capers, David Guthrie, Jason Phillips



The series now shifts to Boston where the Celtics are hoping that some home cooking will help them get their first victory in the series. The Cavs are up 2-0 in a postseason series for the 8th time in team history, and they have gone 7-0 in in those 7 series.

The Celtics were in both games in Cleveland and made the Cavs work for their victories. The Celtics played well in spurts in the two losses in Cleveland, but they need a more complete effort at home in Game 3 to overcome the effect of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in crunch time.

The Celtics led in the second quarter of both games 1 and 2 but Cleveland made a couple of devastating runs that would give them a lead that they would not give up the rest of the way. They had a 53-25 run in Game 1 and a 32-9 run in Game 2. The Celtics have to find a way to play better in the 3rd quarter as well as to stop the Cavs from going on those runs.

To their credit, the Celtics never gave up in either game, cutting the deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter of both games. They pulled to within two midway through the fourth quarter of game 2. But James and Irving combined for all 24 Cavaliers points to close out the game. It will be crucial for the Celtics to find a way to slow James and Irving if they hope to win this game.

The Cavaliers starters have outscored the Celtics 176-85 so far. But, the Celtics' bench has helped to even out the scoring by outscoring their Cavalier counterparts 106-36. Isaiah Thomas has been a big reason for the Celtics bench production with 44 points and 17 assists in the two games.



Probable Starters

PG: Marcus Smart................... SG: Avery Bradley

SF: Evan Turner........... PF: Brandon Bass

C: Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves

Gerald Wallace
Jae Crowder
Phil Pressey
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk
Isaiah Thomas
Jonas Jerebko
Gigi Datome
James Young
Chris Babb

Injuries
Jonas Jerebko (calf) probable

Head Coach

Brad Stevens



Possible Starters

PG: Kyrie Irving................ SG: J.R.Smith

SF: LeBron James................. PF: Kevin Love

C: Timofey Mozgov

Cavs Reserves
Mike Miller
Tristan Thompson
Joe Harris
Matthew Dellavedova
Iman Shumpert
James Jones
Brendan Haywood
Shawn Marion
Kendrick Perkins
Iman Shumpert

Injuries
Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out

Head Coach
David Blatt




Key Matchups
vs
Marcus Smart vs Kyrie Irving
Irving scored 30 points, including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc in game 1 and he added 26 points and 6 assists in Game 2. Smart will need to adjust and play tougher defense to try to slow him down.

vs
Evan Turner vs LeBron James
In game 1, the Celtics concentrated on slowing James down and he chose to get his teammates more involved. He still scored 20 points on 8-18 shooting. In Game 2 he went off for 30 points, 7 assists and 9 rebounds. While Evan will more than likely start the game on James once again, expect Jae Crowder to get the bulk of the responsibility for trying to slow him down.

Honorable Mention

Brandon Bass vs Kevin Love
Love struggled at the beginning of game 1 but came on strong at the end. He finished game 2 with 13 points and 6 rebounds. He is capable of hitting from beyond the arc and can stretch the floor as well as rebound and take the ball inside. He's been the third option for their Big 3 so far but the Celtics need to always be ready for him to have a big game.

Keys to the Game
Defense Defense Defense!! The Celtics must play tough defense and concentrate on getting stops. They need to pick up their defensive intensity, especially beyond the arc where the Cavs have excelled. It will be very important for the Celtics to play tough defense on the Cavs and concentrate on getting stops. It would be nice if they could find a way to slow down Irving and James, who have been a problem, especially down the stretch. They also need to find a way to stop the Cavs pick and rolls.

Rebound - The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. They must crash the boards as a team to prevent the Cavs from getting second chance and fast break points. They also need to rebound to give themselves extra possessions and to fuel their running game. They were out-rebounded 46-34 in the first game and 47-39 in Game 2. It was offensive rebounds by the Cavs that gave them an advantage at the end of game 2. Boxing out and crashing the boards must be a priority in this game.

Run! Run! Run! - The Celtics need to push the pace of the game and keep the Cavs running. If they do, they will have a chance to get some easy points before the Cavs defense sets up. The Celtics are young and deep and should be able to run the entire game. When the game slows down, it plays to the Cavs strengths. The Celtics need to try to keep that from happening.

Play with Effort and Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have been winning games by putting out more effort than their opponents. They don't have the talent that the Cavs do, so they have to make up for it with effort and aggressiveness. They can't afford to come out with less than a full 100% effort. They have to be the first to get to loose balls and rebounds, and they have to be the team that works harder if they want to have a chance to win this game. There can be no let up!!

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man. But, in doing so, they have to keep their focus and avoid turning the ball over. When the Celtics turn the ball over, the Cavs get easy baskets. The Celtics must take care of the ball and avoid careless turnovers and at the same time, they have to keep it moving and not hold it or over dribble.

Go to the Hoop - The Celtics need to go to the hoop and get into the paint. 3-pointers are nice and all but when they aren't falling, they can take a team right out of a game. The Celtics shot just 27% from beyond the arc in game 2 and that isn't good enough. They need to drive more and not rely as much on shooting from beyond the arc, especially when they aren't falling. Of course, hopefully they will be hitting their 3's. Also, they can't expect to get calls when they drive because more often than not, the calls won't be made so they need to go strong to the hoop and finish.

X-Factors
Home and Officiating

The series has moved to Boston and the Celtics will have the crowd behind them and the advantage of playing at home. Hopefully it will give them the boost that they need to get over the hump and pull out a win in this one.

The officiating was definitely tilted toward the Cavs in the first 2 games. Even the national TV announcers in both games mentioned the bad calls against the Celtics and the no calls on the Cavs, especially the fact that LeBron constantly got away with fouling with no calls. It may be too much to expect them to call the game fairly and call LeBron for his fouls. But we can only hope that the Celtics crowd will influence the refs to give the Celtics a little home cooking. I'm not asking for favoritism, just fairness.

Official Report

James Capers

The son of former NBA official James Capers Sr., James Capers has officiated 1,110 regular season games, 67 Playoff games and three NBA Finals games during his 19-season NBA career. In addition to his NBA experience, Capers has six years of CBA officiating experience, including three CBA Finals and two CBA All-Star Games. I've seen several posts from Lakers fans who swear he hates the Lakers. At least he has that in his favor. In 2012, Capers called game 2 of the ECF and the officiating was terrible in that game. The Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. Pierce, Dooling and Pietrus all fouled out. There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the game. Lebron James took 24 free throws himself, only 4 less than the entire Celtics team.

He was lead official in the Nets game that resulted in a brawl the season before last. Capers gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to the fight. This season, he called the Golden State game and made a terrible call to end the first half on a last second heave. Even the Warriors fans thought it was a terrible call. The calls all went the Warriors way down the stretch and Warriors fans couldn't believe how they were getting the benefit of all the questionable calls. The Celtics are 2-6 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Capers. The Cavs are 2-2 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 with Capers. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 39-24.

David Guthrie
David Guthrie enters his tenth season after officiating 516 regular season games and 10 playoff games. Prior to joining the NBA, Guthrie was an official in the CBA, NBA D-League and the New York City Pro Am. He participated in the D-League playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the D-League championship games in 2004 and 2005. He officiated at the collegiate level in the ACC, SEC, Colonial, Southern, OVC, ASUN, Big South and SWAC conferences and participated in the 2003 and 2004 NCAA tournaments. In the past, Guthrie has been a decent referee, usually letting the teams play rather than over-officiating. The Celtics are 3-2 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Guthrie. The Cavs are 4-3 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Guthrie. His home W/L record is 32-29.

Jason Phillips

Jason Phillips has officiated 824 regular season games and 27 playoff games since joining the NBA officiating staff 13 seasons ago.In addition, Phillips has six seasons of experience officiating in the CBA, working the 1999 CBA Finals. He also officiated three seasons in the WNBA, working the 1999 WNBA Finals. Phillips spent five years officiating at the high school level in his home state of Texas. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Tarleton State. In addition, he played varsity basketball, golf and baseball while at Cisco High School in Texas.

The Celtics are are 1-1 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 games with Phillips as a ref. The officiating was fairly even in 4 of the 5 games last season. In the game in OKC the Celtics shot 20 free throws to 33 for the Thunder and there were more than a few questionable calls. It was Phillips that got Tommy to swear on the air last season in a game against Houston about the refs falling for all the blank blank flops. This season Phillips was the lead official for the game vs the Bulls where the Celtics shot 11 free throws to 40 for the Bulls. The officiating was terrible and one sided. Tommy described it this way, "This was an abomination. It wasn't even close to a decently officiated game." The Cavs are 6-0 this season and are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Phillips. His home W/L record this season is 39-26.