The Boston Celtics have proven to be a scrappy unit that refuses to quit. They are getting a ton out of a roster that doesn't feature much high-end talent, and they have managed to stay in each game. Despite all of that, they still sit on the verge of being swept by a Cleveland Cavaliers team that seems to be exerting only as much effort as required to get by.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0) at Boston Celtics (0-3)
When? Sunday, 1 pm EDT
Where? TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Where on my eyeballs? ABC
Enemy Blog: CelticsBlog
See you at the crossroads, Boston.
The Celtics showed in Game Three that they are very capable of putting together solid runs and getting their electric crowd into the game. While the Cavs offense wasn't firing on all cylinders, they were able to withstand each of Boston's best blows and come away with the win. If they want the same result on Sunday, they will need to find a way to take the crowd out of the game and try to prevent Boston runs from becoming too significant.
Of course, if the Cavs were to find their range and start playing at the level they are capable of offensively there isn't a whole lot the Celtics can do to make it a close contest. It'll be interesting to see how Kyrie Irving responds to a quiet Game Three and whether or not Kevin Love can continue to excel in his role.
Things to watch for:
- J.R. Smith had his first good offensive game of the playoffs. Whether or not he and Iman Shumpert can provide consistent offense to take pressure off of the big three will be crucial to success in the later rounds. A strong outing out of one or both of them offensively might help generate some momentum moving forward.
- The Cavs won the turnover battle in Game Three with only 11 turnovers compared to their 18 in Game Two. They will need to remain careful with the ball and limit the amount of extra possessions they gift to the Celtics. While they are capable of winning against Boston while committing a lot of turnovers, that feat will not be as easy against teams like Chicago and Atlanta.
- It's been a down series for Timofey Mozgov. He has looked lost on offense and has struggled dealing with the mobile Boston big men. Like Smith and Shumpert, the Cavs need him to start playing at the best of his abilities in order to contend against the best teams in the league. While Tristan Thompson has been fantastic, the Cavs are at their best when they have a legitimate one-two punch from their centers.
- Will Evan Turner try dunking on LeBron James again? I kind of hope he does.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
The big three will once again carry the Cavs to victory. Boston is going to hang around and compete like they have all series. But once the Cavs start to pull away in the third quarter, they will see the writing on the wall and fade away. We'll then get to debate rest versus rust and all that good stuff.