Rick (WFNY): Well, it's best of three series, you have home court. How confident are you right now?
John (Red's Army): Not as confident as I was before… but I'd definitely put my money on the Celtics. I'm stunned at the difference between their play on the road as opposed to at home. I'm a bit disappointed that they rely on emotions so much… that it obviously affects them on the road. But as I've said before… every road loss magnifies itself because its all they're hearing about now.
So no… I'm not exactly thrilled with the fact that LeBron can go nuts and maybe steal a game in Boston… but I'm comforted by the fact that the C's are so much better at home… and the Cavs have been so inconsistent all year long.
How do you guys feel about it? And do you think Cleveland has found a crack in the armor?
WFNY: Do I feel confident that Cleveland will win? No, anyone who tells you they are confident the Cavs are going to win in Boston is paid by the team somehow. I absolutely think Cleveland can win in Boston. In fact, I think the Cavs have a better shot at winning in Boston than the Celtics do at winning in Cleveland.
As far as a crack in the armor, I think that Cleveland has certainly demonstrated that they are as good a defensive team as the Celtics. I don't think anyone there would have thought that coming into the series. The way I see it, you had better figure out a way to get Ray Allen going. Paul Pierce isn't going to bust out for 35 or 40 against LeBron. KG will get some, but he isn't the type of player that carries you offensively, especially if nobody is hitting outside shots. There is no way that Wally Szczerbiak as that good a defender, and that is why Cleveland is throwing the kitchen sink at Allen. They aren't afraid of anyone else, so Posey, Cassell or Rondo better step it up as well.
If the Celtics get bounced before the Finals what will the reaction be in Boston? It seems they were destined to get there, but have been far from dominant in the post-season…
Red's Army: It really depends on how the Celtics go out. They can't lose this series and get off lightly. However… if they advance and lose to Detroit in a hard-fought, 7 game series… then maybe some Celtics fans will cut them some slack.
I think the prevailing attitude right now in Boston is that we need to find a way to get our second team going. Sam Cassell isn't cutting it right now. The C's picked him up to be a back up point guard… but he's not facilitating the offense. He's just dribbling and shooting… and that's not helping. We're all calling for Eddie House… and I think Doc is listening. He hinted after practice that we could see more House… and that's probably a good thing for the second unit. If he's in… then Cleveland is going to get a whole new look… because House is focused on moving the ball and getting the offense working… and then getting open for his shot. The second unit has bailed out the starters often this season… and a stagnant bench has exposed some of the weaknesses. THAT is where the Celtics are really having their problems.
LeBron hasn't gotten hot offensively… and that's made him look to pass a lot. While I know passing is part of his game… is there any fear that LeBron the distributor will go away if LeBron the shooter heats up? Do you think that could actually hurt the team… or will the rest of the guys (Gibson, Wally, Delonte) still step up when LeBron is hitting?
WFNY: Hmmm…that's interesting. Lebron has shown a tendency to settle for the jumpshot at times in the past. If he hits a few, and the Celtics allow him to have the 18 footer that is a possibility. But right now Boston is doubling him when he gets the ball even at the three point line, so I don't see that as being an issue. LeBron won't put up jumpers when double teamed.
If LeBron is hitting his jumpers that opens up the offense even more for the Cavs. If he gets the ball on the wing and the double comes he can make the cross court pass to open shooters. He can find Joe Smith or Big Z at the top of the circle. He can find a cutting Wally or Delonte West.
Is House the X-Factor in game 5, or is it someone else? Also, has the Boston media been critical at all of Garnett, Allen or Pierce or has it been directed at Doc Rivers?
Red's Army: House could be the X-factor if he plays. Doc has only hinted at it… so we're still not sure. We ARE sure that the second team has struggled… and Cassell is really the only thing different about it. I'd love to declare House the X-factor… but until I'm sure he plays… I'm going with both Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins. Perk showed in game 7 against the Hawks that when he's active on D, he can trigger the fast-break offense… which is where Rondo comes in. Rondo needs to attack, attack, attack… and get the Cavs playing on their heels. He's still learning… but he's got to figure out how to attack AND draw the foul. Right now he's attacking and getting blocked. But it all starts with Perkins and our low post defense. All great fast breaks start with great low post D… and until we prevent offensive rebounds and defend the hoop, its going to be a tight, ugly rest of the series. A big first quarter from Perkins will equal an easy double-digit Celtics lead.
The media has spread the blame around… but mostly around to the players. I'm not going to say Doc is immune…but the fact is that everyone shares in the blame… and its the players out there that seem to be dragging on the road. I think the theory is that the coaching is consistent at home and on the road… so its the players that must be off… otherwise… a bad coach would be losing at home too. It makes sense. Would a bad coach consistently lead his team to blowout wins at home?
All the talk about this series seems to be "Boston can't win on the road." Do you feel like that belittles the Cavs efforts in games 4 and 5… or do you think the Celtics flat out blew some chances and the Cavs should feel lucky to go back to Boston tied at 2?
WFNY: I don't really care about whether or not Cleveland is getting their due, or not. It didn't ever enter my mind until you brought it up actually. I think Boston fans should feel fortunate that the series is tied. Despite how bad the Cavs shot in game one, if that last layup goes down, you could be staring at an elimination game right now.
I think we'll leave it on that note. We're going to try to get one more before this series is over.