After Cleveland dismantled Boston in Game 3, to take a commanding 2-1 lead in the series, I was certain the Cavs were going to win the series. But now as Game 4 approaches, I’m filled with hope (probably false hope, but still). This is a winnable game for Boston. Heck, this is a must win game for Boston. Cleveland can all but end the series today in Boston. One would think the Celtics will come out fired up and ready to win. Although the C’s were inconsistent in the regular season, I don’t recall very many awful back to back games. Here are my keys to Game 4:
Keys to Celtics-Cavaliers Game 4
PLAY DEFENSE: It’s really that simple. Their rotations were god awful in Game 3, no one stayed in front of their man, and somehow the Cavs got more offensive rebounds then the C’s in the first half while they shot over 60%! That is ridiculous! The Celtics also made weak run outs on the perimeter shooters, and got burned on every up fake.
“The truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”: Paul Pierce has seemed invisible on the court for the first three games of this series. If the Celtics want to win, he needs to come up big. Although it is nice to see him hit all of his mid range jumpers, when they aren’t falling, he needs to take it to the rim. I realize he’s guarding LeBron on defense, but Boston can’t win without Paul scoring 20+ a night.
Keep attacking: The Cavs were so successful last night because they drove the basketball and knocked down open shots against a hesitant Boston defense. The Celtics will come out with a stronger defensive intensity this afternoon, so the Cavs will have to continue their efficient offensive play if they want to win again. If LeBron can get into the lane and make good decisions with the ball, like he did in Game 3, it will be extremely difficult for the C’s to slow down the Cavs down.
Water the Shaqtus: Cleveland worked the offense through Shaq early in Game 3 and came away with some important buckets that set the tone of the game. As much as I’d like to see Perk stop him, O’Neal did a great job of getting position close to the basket so Perk couldn’t use his body to keep him away. This is a matchup that will be very important in today’s game. If Perk can shut down Shaq, that will create a lot of empty possessions for Cleveland.