The Celtics can beat the Cavs. If everything breaks their way.

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The Celtics can too beat the Cavaliers.

If Ray Allen is on fire from three. If LeBron James makes a bad decision with the game on the line and goes for the win, then misses a PUJIT three. If the Cleveland coach gets ejected. If Rajon Rondo can keep his turnovers down. If Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t play. If the game is in Boston. If the Celtics can make the key plays to hold on at the end after being up by 21 in the third.

Sure, they can do that four out of seven in the second round. Don’t see the problem.

That was a fun game to watch. At this point in the season, when so many teams are mailing it in, it’s great to see a game that foreshadows the playoffs. Except that in literature, foreshadowing hints at a potential outcome. As Matt Moore told us before, this result said nothing about the outcome of a series between these two.

For three quarters, it was that kind of game for Cleveland. When JJ Hickson just swatted a Kendrick Perkins shot inside, the ball went right to Ray Allen standing alone at the three-point line. Nylon.

Where Atlanta could not match the runs Cleveland would make the other night, for three quarters the Celtics looked like the veteran team with a counterpunch. And Cleveland looked flat. Mike Brown tried to fire up his team with the worst acting job ever in getting tossed from the game in the third quarter. Razzie bad.

(Hey Can we start giving those away for the NBA? Worst flop, worst acting job by a coach, worst effort by a team to pretend like they cared the last two weeks of the season (we want the Knicks to win something).

Then Cleveland got focused. They outscored Boston by 13 in the third, after trimming the lead in the third. LeBron turned into the unstoppable force that he is. Cleveland started defending and rebounding like they can when focused.

The key may have been when LeBron made an Adam Morrison quality decision. Down just two with less than 20 seconds left after Kendrick Perkins reminded us why to foul him with the game on the line, LeBron had the chance on the fast break to drive and get the tie on a layup (and try to draw the and-one). Instead he went for the Kobesque game wining three.

LeBron – be yourself. He missed it.

Celtics win. Good win. They held on by the hair of their chinny chin chin. But it’s a win. Doesn’t change what would happen over seven games in the second round.