Cleveland vs. Boston: Preview

It is that time of year again Cavalier fans. The Eastern Conference Semi-finals are here and guess who they are playing? The despised Boston Celtics and the “Big Three” will be in town. Below are some major headlines and things we need to know before the series tips off in about 48 hours from now.

History: Let’s just say there is not much love between these two franchises. In 2008 the favored Boston Celtics were pushed to seven games against Cleveland. The battle began a rivalry that still stands to this day. The seventh game of the 2008 series saw a true one-on-one battle between LeBron James and Paul Pierce. LeBron scored an epic 45 points trying to will his team to victory, while Pierce also scored a remarkable 41 points that led Boston past the Cavaliers and eventually won the NBA Championship. Cleveland has not forgotten that series and to this day every game has been a hard-fought physical battle between the two.

LeBron remebers 2008 and wants pay back

LeBron’s Elbow: In the winning moments in a game 5 victory over the Chicago Bulls LeBron shot a dreadful looking left-handed free throw. He did have an MRI and X-rays taken which showed no damage to the elbow. Also he got treatment on Wednesday and is expected to undergo more testing before Saturday’s game. “I’m not concerned,” James told reporters after the game. “I’m healthy, I’m ready, and we are looking forward to the second round.” LeBron also added, “Cleveland fans have nothing to be worried about. They don’t have any reason to panic.” Let’s hope so, if the elbow does not bother LeBron, then his 36.5 points, 8.3 assists and 6.5 rebounds thus far against the Celtics this season will not see a decline.

Boston’s Big Three: How much are they going to be able to carry the load like they did in 2008? How much slower are they? Can they stay healthy? So many questions are yet to be answered about the “Big Three”. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce must remain healthy and play like how they did in 2008 to have a chance against the revamped Cavaliers. Speaking of which:

Cavaliers Depth Vs Boston Depth: The 2010 Cavaliers are not the same as the 2008 Cavaliers. The starting line-up for them featured, James, Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West. The only remaining starter is LeBron. The rest of the starters now include, Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Antwan Jamison and Shaq. More talented and better players are now on the side of the Cavaliers. That does not even include the bench, in which the Cavaliers have Anderson Varejao, Jamario Moon, Delonte West, Ilgauskas, and if they need to go deeper they have J.J. Hickson, Boobie and Jawad Willams. Boston has a very slim picking on the bench. Their back-up point guard is Tony Allen, Rasheed looks like his best days are behind him and Nate Robinson looks lost. The Depth between the two is really not even a contest.

Match-Up Problem: Antwan Jamison vs. Kevin Garnett or Kendrick Perkins. With Jamison’s ability to shoot outside and score inside, he will make it tough for either of the Celtic’s forwards to guard him. Kevin Garnett looks like he is at least 5 steps slower than in 2008 and Perkins is to slow and plays mainly in the paint. This proves how good of a GM Danny Ferry is and preparing this team for the post-season.

Antwan will create match-up problems with these guys

X-Factor: It has to be Mo Williams. He might have the toughest job on the Cavaliers. Taking a backseat to James and Jamison he now is the third option on the offensive side of the ball. Compared to 2009 he was the second option. He is used to shooting three’s and creating offense for himself while LeBron and Jamison are on the bench. He is a shooter which means like all shooters, he is a streaky shooter. He must produce in this series and make his three’s. It showed against Boston earlier in the season when Shaq got hurt, Mo made 4 three’s in the 4th quarter and the Cavaliers ended up blowing out the Celtics. Mo must stay aggressive and make his three’s for the Cavaliers to have a good chance advancing.

If LeBron James elbow stays somewhat healthy and the Cavs play like their capable of they will move on to the next round. Cavs in 6


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