Monday, May 05, 2008

2nd Round Preview--Bost-Clev

Celtics (1) vs. Cavs (4):

Celtics definitely showed some chinks in the armor in the 1st round. For whatever reason, they had issues playing on the road vs. a sub-.500 team. A little odd since they were terrific on the road in the reg. season. I would have said that Cleveland had close to no chance of getting past the Celts two weeks ago. But with Atlanta extending the Celts to the limit, and the Cavs playing defense close to last year's level, I think the Cavs can make this thing competitive.

Sure they will treat Bron like Joe Johnson--look to trap/double him up high often & early in the possession either on isos or pick/roll. The difference in this series is the Cavs have better outside shooters they can surround Bron with than the Hawks could surround Joe with. Celts might lay off on the pick/roll sometimes (like the Wiz) and allow the jumper coming off the screen for Bron to mix things up.

Simply, if Delonte, Wally & Gibson can consistently hit their outside looks, the Cavs have a shot at knocking off the Celts. If they're subpar, can't see how Cavs have a chance. A good omen for the Cavs is Gibson & West both shot 50% from deep vs. the Wiz.

Said this many times before, but it would nice if Coach Brown would utilize the great passing skills of Big Z. Run some offense thru him & let some guys make some cuts--you know it would not hurt the Cavs to get some off-the-ball movement every now & then. I say this before every series concerning the Cavs but I doubt it ever will materialize.

Garnett should have plenty of freedom to roam on the defensive end thanks to being matched up with Wallace or Varejao most of the time. Celtics' weakside help is as good as any in the NBA, and they always seem to be in the right place. Pierce will get main duty on Bron with Tony Allen & Posey bringing aid off the pine. Celts will bring off-kilter looks that seem like a hybrid of man & zone that are very effective, and especially could be vs. Bron.

Cavs are a great offensive rebounding team, everyone on the frontline is dangerous on the off. glass including LeBron. Though Boston had no issues with their def. glass in the reg. season, they struggled keeping the Hawks off the off. glass--Celts were under 70% def. reb pct, not good. Keep an eye on this battle.

It seems the Cavs are regaining the defensive chops of last season back that carried them to the Finals. As good as this Celts team is defensively, I could see 2 games in the series (probably in Clev) where Bron just does what he do & that's good enough for victory. It's a given Bron will be forced to give up the ball a ton & his driving lanes should impeded. So this series could hinge on how well Bron's support staff drill their open opportunities.