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5 Reasons not to be worried about the Cavs romp

 
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Before I dive into this list, let me just echo a few things up front about this Cleveland team. When they are on, like they were yesterday it’s going to take an outstanding effort to beat them. If the Celtics even play a good game yesterday they still probably lose by 10-15 points. With that said, I’m still not worried about how badly the Celts lost this game and here’s why:

1) No Leon Powe and Kevin Garnett
Their absence should not be an excuse for the team’s performance. At the same time, having either of these guys on a gurney probably would have helped our cause. More than anything I feel like the C’s missed KG’s fire in this game. No way he lets us lose by 30, even if he is at less than 100 percent. His intensity and commitment to defense is contagious for those he is out on the floor with, and the team stands to benefit from that when he’s back out there. They certainly needed it yesterday.

As far as Leon goes, I’ll let the numbers do the talking. In 3 games against Cleveland this year he has averaged 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds with 78% shooting from the field, all coming in only 20 minutes a game. Let’s also not forgot how the C’s beat the Cavs without KG at home thanks to his monster 20-11 last month. His strong rebounding, post play and ability to take charges makes him a valuable player against Cleveland, as well as a better matchup against them than Big Baby.

To reiterate, he would not have been a game changer against Cleveland yesterday, but if he’s up to speed once the Eastern Conference Finals roll around next month, Leon fills a crucial piece of the puzzle we were missing yesterday.

2) This game mattered less to the Celtics, then it did to the Cavs
By this, I’m not saying the Celtics mailed in this game from the start. They came into Cleveland with the intention of winning. Once they had a miserable start shooting though, it was evident they lacked the passion and fire to stay close against a Cavs team that was focus and motivated. Cleveland is still fighting to earn home court advantage for the playoffs as well as for the chance to tie the Celtics mark for best home court record in a season. This reality allowed the Cavs to draw blood early in this one, and jump on a tired looking Celtics team. This leads me to my next point.

3) The Celtics easily had their worst shooting half of the season
15% shooting. 3/20 from the field. 9 points. That’s all the Celtics were able to muster up in the first quarter of this massacre. I guess those numbers would be alarming to some people, but they are not to me. The Cavs played solid defense for this stretch but it was nothing to write home about. The Celtics got a bunch of decent looks, they just didn’t make them….any of them for that matter.

I don’t know if they were tired, unmotivated or whatever but I’m not concerned about it since the Celtics can’t possibly shoot that bad again for that long of a stretch. Ray went 0/7, Paul 2/7, Rondo and Baby a combined 0/4. It’s pretty hard for everyone to be that off at the same time. I wouldn’t count on it happening again this year.

4) Though it may not look it after yesterday, The Cavs still have some chinks in their armor.
The day was April 3rd, only a week and a half ago. The final result: Magic 116 Cavs 87 Take a look at that box score. The Cavs were down by as much as 40 in that one, a game that mattered for both teams. Lebron shot poorly, but he still went for 26-9-5. So everyone who wants to make a big deal out of this loss for the C’s, and point out how the Cavs are the heir apparent to the Eastern Conference throne, let’s not have too short of a memory about how this same terrific team laid a similar egg with their roster at full strength only 10 days back.

5) The Cavs showboated a little too much in this meaningless game…and the Celtics will remember it
This is less of a reason to be worried and more of an observation you could say. The Celtics don’t really need any extra inspiration to beat Cleveland in the playoffs. The focus will be there come May if their paths collide. However, its impossible for any competitor not to get a bit more riled up and motivated after seeing an opponent show them up. That is exactly what the Cavs did yesterday, dominating the C’s while dancing around on the sidelines, flexing, just hamming it up. Now don’t get me wrong, the Celtics have been guilty of doing the same thing, I just don’t think they did it to this degree. The Cavs right now are cocky, acting like they are the champions, but they are forgetting one important thing….they haven’t won anything yet.

One final quote from Ray Allen on seeing the Cavs celebrate:

“I’m always going to remember that. If I beat a team, as happy as I may be in victory, I’m always going to stay humble and always remember that there’s another day. We play each other too much. Those are great motivational thoughts for me.”

The Celtics likely do not need this extra motivation, but a little extra bitterness toward Lebron and the boys can’t hurt the cause if we see them in another month right? It might not be enough change the outcome of the series, and it’s clear the Cavs will be favored if we play in the ECF (as they should.) Don’t count out these defending champions though. Not yet, anyway.

  • steveo

    the cavs were only celebrating and dancing and all that because they saw the celtics do it all last year.

    I know it's horrible to watch your team get beat while the other team is having so much fun at your expense, but lets refrain from casting any stones..

  • http://thinkshesmorelike.wordpress.com/ jylze

    you're right a bout everything – BUT, it's the same thing that has been bothering me about this team since the Christmas day loss to the lakers. There are games where they don't seem to show up to play – but there are some games you just HAVE TO come ready to go at it. Just like the Lakers on Dec 25, this was one of those. No matter who's out, no matter if the shots are not falling, you have to figure out a way to make it competitive – even if it's just pure hustle.

    You know, that's how a lot of games get "chippy" – the Cs don't play as well as they should, and what they lack in good basketball, they try to make up for with aggressiveness and borderline dirtiness. (ray's groin shot was the only case of this that I can remember yesterday.)

    but the fact that 300 lb Lebron knocked 98 pound Rajon into the ground in the opening minutes with no foul call kind of set the tone, and i'm sure that wasn't good for team morale.

  • http://www.yardbarker.com/sambot sambot

    steveo, i was present at quite a few celtics games last year just a few rows behind the bench, some of which were blowouts. there may have been the congratulatory high fives and talking to one another (which any team does when they know they have it in the bag, not just the celtics), but nothing like turning and flexing to tv cameras, dancing on each other, staring at the opposing bench, dancing during rick astley, etc.

    the ONLY time that kind of behavior was prevalent during the c's run was during game 6 when they were up by 30 – and the big 3 were dancing to gino. i think that if you have a championship in a bag, you've got a pass. brian's right, the cavs haven't won anything yet, and i sincerely hope this moment of hubris will come back and hit them where it hurts.

    if lebron can finish the celtics off in the ECF this year, i will root for the western conference. i'm disgusted with his whining and showboating this year.

  • Yo

    jylze- they were competitive in that christmas day game, they had a lead with 3 minutes to go…

    they havent been competitive at all in cleveland this season

  • Mo

    sambot,

    Would you say that what they did is better or worse than getting on all fours on the court and barking at someone … during a game? Complaining about some dancing is pretty petty.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YysS4vCKis

  • http://www.yardbarker.com/sambot sambot

    cleveland has the right to celebrate on its homecourt, but frankly the extreme they took it to was completely classless. kg is a different animal on the court, and i can't really see what's going on in the video, but if he did bark at bayless i'm pretty sure he would've gotten an earful after. kg's not immune from my behavior criticisms, no team is.

    i'm much more annoyed with the glares at the bench than i am with the dancing. that's completely unnecessary. i'm of the mentality that if you're on the court, keep it on the court. i would think a similar situation would be akin to that hawks/celtics playoffs series, where pierce and horford had a little exchange, except have pierce glare at horford every single time he's on the bench. people would be calling him classless, including you.

    just because the golden boy did it doesn't mean its right. and if my thought that teams should grow up a little bit is petty, well, then i'm petty and happy to be. you're a professional basketball player, not a high school class clown.

  • http://thinkshesmorelike.wordpress.com/ jylze

    Yeah Yo, they were in that game, but we could all agree that was the first game in a while where they came out flat. The Lakers also didn't play very well either, so they ended up close in the final score, I think they even went to OT.

    But I remember having this feeling like, if the Cs can't come out ready to play against the Lakers, who will they come out ready to play against? And it's what's been worrying me all year. I hope they come out with fire in the playoffs, that's all i can say.

  • Jay

    I think you're all missing the bigger picture here. It seems doubtful at best that this team sees the Cavs again this season. The idea that KG will ride into the playoffs and save the day seems more fantasy then reality. The knee still isn't right. Focus should be placed on just getting out of the first round to see if you even have what it takes to get by the Magic. Whining about sideline antics won't change the fact that Cleveland is the better team right now. Did anyone see the Cavs reporting they want payback for that groin shot? No, and that shows that they don't see the C's as a real threat. For better or for worse, I think a lot of teams will be discounting the C's, and with justification. Their fans don't care who you root for in the finals, it won't change the outcome of the games, or the fact that none of them will be played in Boston. That's what hurts you.

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