Game Three is hugely important. How important, exactly? The winner of Game Three in a tied series wins the series 76% of the time. That important.
The Celtics can either seize control and continue the momentum they earned in Game Two, or lose it and see Lebron and the Cavs regain homecourt advantage and show that perhaps Game Two was a fluke. The Celtics can keep their nice run of good play going, or they can cough up their lead and give the Cavs all the confidence in the world. It all comes down to Game Three.
I don’t have much time, so I can’t give a full preview.
Here are a few keys, though:
- Keep Ray Allen going – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When Ray gets hot tie games turn into solid leads and solid leads turn into blowouts. Not a bad weapon to have in your corner.
- Lebron might go off – Lebron James is the world’s greatest basketball player. He also just listened to three days of everyone on earth talk about his elbow as if he’s damaged goods. After being completely limited in Game Two, I expect a big, big game out of James in Game Three. The Celtics, as they usually do, better throw a lot of attention his way.
- Limit Mo Williams – As Mo Williams goes, so goes the Cavs? It certainly seems that way so far. When he went off briefly in Game One, the Cavs surged into the lead and went on to win. Other than his brief spell of greatness in the opener, Williams might as well have spent Games One and Two in a hotel room… and the Cavs have been dominated. Defending Mo isn’t all that tough — just don’t let him shoot — but when he gets hot he tends to get roasting.
- Hope Mike Brown doesn’t make the right adjustments – If Brown went to a lineup with Lebron at the four spot, how do you think the Celtics would respond? Yeah, that’s what I thought. They’d be crippled. KG wouldn’t be able to defend anyone on the court. Plus, that small lineup wouldn’t hurt Cleveland all that much defensively. If I’m Brown, I’m going small early and often and forcing Boston to match up.
- NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner speaks on Kevin Garnett. Garnett doesn’t like partying on the road… and loves his mother dearly. (“‘I just slipped the kid some money,’ the coach told me [of Garnett]. ‘He sent his per-diem [meal money] back to his mother. I don’t think he’s going to make it.’ Later that night, most of the players went to a sports bar/gentlemen’s club to watch the last Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield fight. Garnett wasn’t among them. He wasn’t old enough to get in, yeah, but it also was a pattern to be repeated for the next 15 years: The road as business trip.”)
- Peter May talks to Bob Cousy about Rajon Rondo. Cousy LOVES Rondo. (“‘I’ve been watching the Celtics for the last 50 years,” said Cousy, who retired in 1963 but made a brief, forgettable comeback as a player-coach with Omaha-Kansas City in 1969. ‘And Rondo is the first point guard since moi that I’ve been really excited about. Bird excited you, but he wasn’t a point guard. JoJo [White] wasn’t a point guard. He’s the first since moi to get my attention.’ [...] ‘What more can this kid do? He sees the floor extremely well,” Cousy said. ‘He’s even starting to put what my old coach, Doggie Julian, would call a little French pastry on a play, going behind the back. The kid is only 24. People talk about the Big Three. But this is the Big One. The sky is the limit as far as I can see.’”)