There we go. That’s the Cavs game I was looking to see.
Never you mind Saturday’s run-away-and-hide win at home; games like that rarely tell the tale when it comes to success (or lack thereof) in the postseason. Last night’s grind-it-out kind of win is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Cavaliers. Boston hung with the Cavs all night long, really testing the mettle of the defending conference champs — especially in the hectic, see-saw battle that was the 3rd quarter. To Cleveland’s credit they not only survived the their usual problem quarter but actually came out ahead on points (23-22!).
With a three point lead heading into the final frame, Mike Brown put up a defensive mosquito net, which the Celtics seemed all-too-happy to fly into. The Cavs’ defense was scintillating (damn right I just described defense as scintillating!), led by the pesky persistence of Anderson Varejao–who I’d still just as soon see not take a single shot–and his outstanding D on Kevin Garnett. Lebron’s defense made Paul Pierce again look average and, as a Cavs fan, I’ll let Ray Allen and/or Sam Cassell be the one(s) to have to beat the Cavs 10 times out of 10. Really a lot of credit to Mike Brown defensively.
And while all the media buzz today will be about how Boston can’t win on the road (see above, from ESPN.com’s front page this morning), let’s try and be fair here: the Cavs won that game; Boston didn’t lose it. The Cavs gave the Celtics a taste of their own defensive medicine while shooting well in the second half and now we’re all square at two games apiece. Not to go ultimate John Madden on you, but Game Five will likely tell the tale of this series. If the Cavs can steal it, they win in six; if Boston holds serve, they’ll likely win in seven as I just don’t see them losing Game Seven at home.
Is it Wednesday yet?