Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

The James Gang Returns

“I never did anything alone. Whatever was accomplished … was accomplished collectively.” – Golda Meir

As the Cavs prepare for Game 4 today against Boston, there are several positive signs that the team has finally entered playoff mode.

In Game 3, LeBron James showed the Celtics why he is the league’s MVP. James scored 21 points in the first quarter to break the will of Boston and the crowd – handing Boston its worst home playoff loss EVAH and retaking home court advantage.

Just as important was the Cavs remembering what they are – a defense-first team that is clearly superior to the Celtics. And it was a team effort that carried the Cavs in Game 3.

The Cavs defense returned as the Celtics missed 10 of their first 13 shots and shot only 27 percent in the first quarter. The Cavs held them to 42 percent shooting for the game and outrebounded Boston by 15. James once again used Paul Pierce as his personal whipping boy, holding the Celtics alleged top gun to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. For the series, Pierce is shooting 13-of-42 as he is completely unable to deal with LeBron on either end of the court.

Anthony Parker’s work on Rajon Rondo was huge and helped swing the series back in Cleveland’s favor. Sticking to the Celtics’ shooters was also key, as the Cavs were able to force Boston to settle for outside shots that were not falling.

Shaq had his best game of the series, Antawn Jamison was back to doing what he does best, and the guard trio of Mo Williams, Delonte West and Parker were solid.

Boston knows they have a huge problem on their hands. The question is, with only one day off to fix things and rest their tired legs, will it make any difference?

The Cavs have a chance today to put a lock on this series with a win. If they bring the team effort again from the opening tip, they have a very real chance to come home for Tuesday night’s game up 3-1.

And there’s no telling what they can accomplish going forward if they work together.

10 wins to go.

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