Both the Celtics and the Cavaliers are in a familiar place going into game 3. In round 1, the Celtics were up 2-0 on the Hawks. Most fans and writers were predicting a sweep after the Celtics dominated the Hawks by an average of 21 points per game in their first two home games. But, the Celtics played very un-Celticlike in Atlanta. Their trademark defense was nowhere to be found and ubuntu went out the window as it seemed to be each man for himself.
Game 3 loss could have been blamed on the bizarreness of playing the third quarter and half of the fourth with no shot clocks and everyone expected the Celtics to bounce right back and take game 4. But, the Celtics didn't play much better in game 4 as their defense failed to show up for the second game in a row. It is very puzzling how the Celtics could play so well at home and so poorly on the road. They went on to win game 5 but once again, in game 6, they lost on the road.
So, here the Celtics sit in round 2, up 2-0 on another opponent and We don't know which team will show up for game 3. Will it be the team that we have seen at home? The team that plays tough in your face team defense and that moves the ball to find the open man and the team that attacks the basket. Or will it be the team we saw in Atlanta? The team that couldn't play any defense and who settled for outside shots without any thought of going to the basket and that had players all trying to do it on their own instead of as a team. I for one am hoping for the former.
The Celtics were the best road team in the league in the regular season with a 32-10 record. They conquered the Texas Triangle. They were only one of 4 teams to beat the Utah Jazz in Utah. They know how to win on the road and it will come down to focus and desire to play defense.
The Cavaliers have also been here. Last season they were down 0-2 to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals. They went on to beat the Pistons in 6 games before being swept in the finals by the Spurs. The Cavs know how to bounce back and win with their backs against the wall. Game 3 is the toughest game to get on the road but if the Celtics play their game, they can beat any team, anywhere. The great teams win on the road and I believe this is a great team.