The Celtics and Lakers face off in what will undoubtedly be a historical game seven. All across New England today, C's fans will be distracted by all the chatter online; focused on what they will do for pre-game activities; and, hopefully, what we'll do when the Celtics win #18.
However, before I even go there, I have to outline the keys to success for the Celtics tonight:
- Rebounds: The Celtics were out-rebounded but about 13 boards in the first quarter in game six. Yes, that's 13 rebounds. Rebounds are so important to the Celtics because it enables the team to get out on the break quicker, which in essence, allows Rondo do to his thing. When Rondo is running, passing, scoring and wreaking havoc, the Celtics fair well. So, defensive rebounds are critical. Offensive rebounds are just as important. The Celtics have to eliminate second and third chances for the Fakers (yes, Fakers and not Lakers).
- Team Defense: This team was built on stopping the ball. The entire team, from Rondo to Scalabrine (who should be dressing tonight because of Perk's injury), has to step up their intensity on defense and play within the system. They need to box out on shots; take chargers; contest every shot; and, don't over-help, which creates mis-matches.
- Energy and Trust: The Celtics need to come out from the start with a ton of energy. The crowd is going to be insanely loud. If the Celtics can get on an early run and get up by about 10 within the first 10 minutes of the game, the crowd will be quieted for a bit, which should help them ease into their offensive scheme and simply play ball. They also need to trust each other. You hear Doc talk abou this all the time. He tells the guys to trust the system and trust each other to be at the right place per their assignment.
If the Celtics can take care of these three things, the scoring will come almost as a by-product. As a result, the Celtics will win and hoist #18.
Let's get it done boys.