Well a rematch from 2 years ago, phase 2 of the Cavs 4 step program to winning a ring for the king. Last time the Cavs and Celtics went 7 with the Celtics winning at home to finish the Cavs. What are the factors that will determine this series winner?
Lebron has simply been unstoppable the last 2 years in the playoffs. Against the Bulls he shot over 50% from 3 point range. You will not stop Lebron if he's that on from the outside. The question that has all Clevelanders standing on various highway bridges is if Lebron is and can stay healthy.
Ray Allen From 3
Ray Allen is probably the most important Celtic. He needs to continue his hot shooting (52% from 3 against Miami) . When Rondo penetrates it is up to Allen to make the Cavs pay if they collapse their D. Which in turn causes the Cavs in a Catch-22 allow Rondo free rein in the paint or allow Allen to make them pay from the outside. If Allen is off ....the Celtics offense will be grind down.
Rondo & Turnovers
Boston causes more turnovers than just about any other team and turns the ball over more than most teams. This later point is particularly important because the Celtics transition defense is porous. Keep on the turnover margins especially in regards to what Rondo is doing.
Varajao and Offense Rebounds
Varajao (and to a lesser extent JJ Hickson) were generally outplayed and out hustled on the offensive boards by Chicago. During the regular season this wasn't the case against Boston as Varajao's athletic ability and energy simply could not be contained by the slower Boston front court. Second chance opportunities and defensive rebounding leading to transition will start with Varajao.
Jamison v. KG
The final 4 factor that I haven't touched on are free throws. Getting to the line creates easy points and forces the other team to use their bench (i.e. less effective players). Jamison hitting shots from the outside will keep KG from crowding the lane which will open gaping holes for Lebron, Mo, Andy, and well anybody to cut through and get layups or trips to the free throw line.
The Cavs are better than they were 2 years ago and the Celtics worse. Cavs in 6.