I’m Bordering on Concerned About the Celtics Now

Before I bare my soul I will repeat what I said in defense of the Cavs after Game 2; you’re not in trouble in a series until you lose a home game. The Celtics took care of business and stomped out the Cavs in Games 1-2 in Boston and the Cavs have now returned the favor.

If the NBA (and many of its players home/road splits) didn’t have such wild swings in momentum, officiating, and legitimate home court advantage I would be in full on panic mode. Thats also why everyone who has mocked the Celtics for the past few years for being a soft No. 1 or No. 2 seed and how the regular season “doesn’t matter” needs to pipe down. Have the Celtics overachieved the last couple of seasons? Absolutely. Thats exactly why they need that home court advantage over a team like the Cavs. Guys like Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart are notoriously better at home so yes its important for the C’s to grind out those first 82 games in order to secure any minor advantage they can. I’d also like to point out that the Celtics have yet to lose a game at home in the playoffs.

So with all that being said, do I feel great heading back to Boston with this series tied up and LeBron and his flunkies feeling themselves after back to back W’s? Noooope. LeBron has been LeBron and just abused whoever is defending him or has facilitated like the basketball Magic Johnson facsimile that he is. That was pretty much always going to happen, regardless of how much we all pumped up Marcus Morris for being the LeBron Stopper.

What concerns me the most though is how much better the Cavs have gotten each game, in particular the supporting cast of bums like George Hill and JR Smith. Smith is a notorious front runner so I’m confident in the fact the Celtics can get back to their business in Game 5 at home and Smith could very predictably shut it down. George Hill was non-existent in Games 1-2 yet in the 2 games in Cleveland he was a problem, but that could very easily just be a case of role players (like Smart and Rozier) balling out at home.

What absolutely cannot happen though is guys like Kyle Korver just son-ing Jaylen Brown. Korver set up shop in the young forward’s brain, blocking a couple of Brown’s shots and then working him on the glass to go along with his unconscious shooting from 3. Not to mention Jaylen Brown absolutely bricking a wide open dunk.

The Cavs just keep getting better and better the last two games so I’m telling myself (read: hoping) that this is just a home team taking care of business. But Cleveland’s improvement over the last 4 games is just ridiculous. Seriously, look at the Cavs’ FG% and 3-point percentages from Game 1 to Game 4.

  • Game 1: 36% / 15%
  • Game 2: 46% / 32%
  • Game 3: 48% / 50%
  • Game 4: 50% / 34%

I don’t appreciate the Cavs seemingly getting better every single game after looking like they were on the brink of implosion after the first 2.

The No. 1 problem that Brad Stevens is going to have to fix before Game 5 though is a bunch of guys in their early 20s looking at LeBron getting it going and saying ‘here we go again.’ Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier all grew up watching LeBron go on runs like this. The C’s need a veteran (paging Al Horford) to remind this team how badly they beat up on Cleveland in the first two games. Do it again.

This is why going back home is just what the doctor ordered. The role players need to get their shit together, which is hard for young guys to do on the road. In particular I need Marcus Smart to get back to doing the little things and stop jacking a 3 pointer (1-5 last night) just because the Cavs are daring him to do so.

The Cavs have done an excellent job in finding the matchups they want, including somehow getting Rozier on LeBron more times that I’d like to remember. Stevens adjusted:

But give the guy a couple of days to digest what the Cavs and that genius Tyronn Lue are doing and I believe they can slow Cleveland down. Speaking of Tyronn Lue, how about the balls on the head coach doing head coaching things last night?

I’m surprised LeBron didn’t just rip the whiteboard out of his hands on the sidelines after that.

And I hate to be that guy, but since the NBA had a ref in Tim Donaghy get sent to fucking PRISON for messing with games, I’m going to go ahead. The officiating has been abysmal in this series. One of the worst examples was the refs wiping out a would be 4-point play and calling an offensive foul on Marcus Morris on a MADE 3 pointer.

The officiating has been terrible and looks like a blatant design to extend the series and favor the home team. We can only hope that favor is returned in Boston.

The Celtics return to TD Garden to try and right the ship on Wednesday night. The Cavs have a ton of momentum, but again the C’s have yet to lose at home in the playoffs so I will refrain from panicking quite yet. Game 5 is an absolute must win for the C’s though so lets get it.

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