Ah, sweet Tuesday...still 20 percent better than Monday. Basketbawful is here to help you celebrate that fact and disentagle all those thoughts you thought you had about tonight's Cavs-Celtics game.
Cleveland versus Boston: Game 1
LeBron James. The King shut up his critics — which consisted mostly of DeShawn Stevenson and the rest of the Wizards — by crushing his first-round foes under his royal boot. The Wiz did their best to rough him up and beat him down, but he still averaged a near triple-double (29.8 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 7.7 APG). Can LeBron pull the sword from the stone against Boston? (Yeah, probably.)
The Boston defense. The league's best regular season defense struggled, at times, to contain Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Now they have to try and contain LeBron. Yeah. Good luck with that, guys. My suggestion would be stop everybody but LeBron. Even if he goes off for 50, the Celtics would still win, like, 98-57.
The LeBronnaires. Look, no man, no two men, no army of men or the undead can stop LeBron James. The question is...who else is going to step up for the Cavs? Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Wally Szczerbiak? Delonte West? Boobie? It's gotta be one of those guys or nobody. My best guess? Nobody. But then again, Kendrick Perkins may be the only center in the NBA who moves more slowly than Ilgauskas, so you never know...
Kevin Garnett. He's filling up with so much kinetic energy that he has officially become the first player since Alonzo Mourning in 2006 that I think might actually explode during a game. It's called spontaneous human combustion, people, and it happens, okay? That's science fact. Personally, I hope KG survives his own personal Chernobyl. Barring that, I can only hope one of the Boston fans saves me a piece.
Cockiness. The worst damage inflicted on the Celtics by the Hawks was Boston's newfound vulnerability...be it real or perceived. As Cleveland's Devin Brown put it: "They kind of had that arrogance about them all season by winning so many games that you were kind of not wanting to face them. But after seeing what we saw, I think we're ready to go." Unless I'm wrong - and I'm never wrong - that quote is on a bulletin board in the Boston locker room right now. Right next to a post-it note asking the question "Now who's Devin Brown again?"
Paul Pierce versus LeBron. With all due respect to DeShawn Stevenson, the King's first-round rival didn't really stand much of a chance. He can take on a fancy nickname and grow a mangy beard, but that doesn't make him not DeShawn Stevenson, you know? But LeBron's second-round rival...now, he's on a little more equal footing. What? You didn't know the Pierce and James were rivals? Oh hells to the yes. There's some serious history there. Now let's hope that Truth can do more than just deliver hard fouls and trash talk.
Lookin' over the shoulder. Barring the unforseen, the Pistons are going to make relatively short work of the Magic. (How's that for a reverse stat curse?) So, in theory, whoever is left standing after the Cavs-Celts series would be at a tactical disadvantage if it went six or seven games, right? Both teams are going to want to finish this soon. And you know Cleveland is going to go balls-out to steal this first game in Boston.
Anderson Varejao. What can I say? Stuff like this cracks me up. I think it's the hair.