Sunday's Mother's Day, so I hope the mother's in your lives are Cavs fans, Cleveland...because its also time for Game Four from a recently rowdy but suddenly silenced TD Garden in Beantown. But before we dive into all that, let me first send a Happy Mom's day wish out to one Gloria James - really appreciate you bringing that guy into the world, he's been doing a great job so far.
And as similarly understated, he did a great job last night...
On game three, and attack mode:I really believe that when Kendrick Perkins hit LeBron with that hard foul early on Friday night, the rout was on... If you want to say that LeBron snoozed some through Game Two, he certainly then woke up about as angry and intense as we've ever seen him as soon as he shook that Perkins shot off . And just like we can see it on his face, his teammates certainly feel that same energy, and they fed off it last night. The game couldn't have gone more perfect from the Cavaliers perspective this last time out. It included all those things that we hope to see every time this team laces 'em up: LeBron in "attack mode" - which is the most unstoppable mode that basketball has ever seen btw - Jamison outplaying KG (20 pts, 12 reb for Tawn,19 and 4 for KG), Shaq delivering impactful minutes (5 of 7 for 12 in 22 mins), Delonte West coming off the bench for 14, six Cavs in double figures (Parker and Mo with 11 and 12) the Cavaliers blowing the doors off the Celtics from the jump, never letting off the gas pedal, and responding to the adversity that was an 18-point home loss with an emphatic 'no worries Cleveland.' A 29-point win, that was more like a pummeling, and suddenly all's right with the Cavaliers world, a thing of beauty.
But...if this series has taught us anything so far its that perceptions can change so fast, and so drastically from one playoff game to the next, its best we just try to relax and root this thing out. Just as we probably didn't need to panic as much as most did from Tuesday to Friday afternoon, we probably still shouldn't declare this thing over just yet, because who knows what might happen tomorrow. That said, let's talk about it anyways...
A series of confusing twists:
What's interesting to me about that whole perception thing with this series, is while nobody thought the Cavs would lose Game 2 at home by 18, and nobody thought they'd then win Game 3 by as much as 29, this all still remains simply a 2-1 series with Boston playing their second game at home tomorrow. Meaning, at the end of these three games, this series is still playing out pretty much how most people predicted before it started, sans the dramatic shifts of momentum. We all figured this to be a hard fought series, but what's deceiving about that is that a hard fought series to me sounds like games decided by margins ranging from 5 - 7 points on a per game basis. And while this series hasn't really featured those types of games, if you add up the total points on both sides, you get a score that reads 311-292 in the favor of the Cavaliers. Which is an average margin of victory of 6 points per game (19 total) in the Cavs favor, which would seem to take us back towards an indication of that close series we were just talking about. But is it that what this is? To answer my own question...I have no idea. But what I do know is that it seems the Cavaliers may have just taken the life out of the Celitcs, and this may be over quicker than the 6 games I predicted it'd take Cleveland before this whole mess got started. Only, I also do know that if they should somehow stumble tomorrow, and it heads to Cleveland 2-2, I still see the Cavaliers then closing it back out next time they're in Boston. All that said, I'm still hoping to wrap this thing up in Cleveland. I still hate these guys, and I don't like being confused this much either.
But here's some things I'm not confused about heading into Game 4:
* If LeBron James scores 30 or more points I do not think its possible for the Cavaliers to lose going forward.
* While Nate Robinson and Shelden Williams were the only Celtics with a +/- greater than 0 in Game Three (both +2) I don't expect them to play again in this series...unless somehow a dunk contest breaks out at halftime.
* Mo Williams still hasn't made a three this series, but if Delonte can come off the bench to add 14 backcourt points Mo might not hurt you as much as he has in the past.
* Anthony Parker was able to help make Rondo a jump-shooter in Game Three, but Doc Rivers can coach two things if he can coach anything - point guards and offense - and he will have a counter to the way Rondo was played on Sunday. Cavs need to respond to that move from Doc.
* Paul Pierce has been consistenly False this series, shooting a collective 13 of 42 from the field...yikes Paul, that's awful, keep it up buddy.
* This series will go as far as the Cavaliers team will allow it...if they come out with energy, effort, and enthusiasm, it will be over next week in Cleveland. Its not about the X's and O's for the Cavaliers, they just need to continue to ball.
Happy Mother's Day all around from all of us here at Stepien Rules...Go Cavs