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Dan Shaughnessy

Going by the process of elimination

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / May 18, 2008

The Celtics will win Game 7 because they are playing at home.

The Cavaliers will win Game 7 because they have LeBron James, a player capable of taking over any game and carrying a team on his back.

The Celtics will win Game 7 because they have Kevin Garnett, who at times plays like a latter-day Bill Russell. Garnett possesses all the qualities of a perfect teammate. He is competitive and unselfish. He involves the other guys around him and demands the same effort he expends.

The Cavs will win Game 7 because they are playing great defense. Cleveland held Boston under 80 points in three of six games. The Celtics came into the series with the reputation as the NBA's best defensive team, but the Cavs were able to win Game 6 while shooting 33 percent because they attacked on the defensive end. Boston's point total (69) was its lowest of the season and second lowest in franchise playoff history (shot clock era).

The Celtics will win because this franchise has a proud history in Game 7. Overall, they are 18-5 in Game 7s, 15-3 at home. The Celtics never have lost a series in which they led, 3-2.

The Cavs will win because Doc Rivers is having a tough series. Clearly, Doc wants to go with the hot hand, but his rotations have been more confusing than Roger Clemens's answers in front of Congress. Sam Cassell-Leon Powe, Here Today-Gone Tomorrow. Eddie House Out, Eddie House In. Big Baby Maybe.

The Celtics will win because they are home. Boston is 42-6 at home this year and has won 13 straight in the New Garden. The Celtics' last loss at home was almost two months ago - March 24 vs. Philadelphia.

The Cavs will win because Ma LeBron will show up on the baseline and intimidate Paul Pierce and Garnett.

The Celtics will win because they'll recapture the spirit of ubuntu.

The Cavs will win because Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak will continue to burn their former team. Don't you wish Bob Lobel was on Channel 4 to ask, "Why can't we get players like that?"

The Celtics will win because it's been 22 years since the last banner was raised and it's too early for a 66-win team to check out of the playoffs.

The Cavs will win because Ben Wallace will unleash his hair.

The Celtics will win because commissioner David Stern wants a Boston-Los Angeles final more than Hillary Clinton wants the nomination.

The Cavs will win because Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., officially ended the golden age of New England sports, igniting a chain of postseason disappointments for local teams.

The Celtics will win because they are playing on the fabled parquet floor.

The Cavs will win because Danny Ainge's nephew was drafted by the Jets.

The Celtics will win because the officials will get caught up by the crowd noise and give Boston a big break down the stretch - like the bogus charging call on Pierce Friday night.

The Cavs will win because Game 7 at the Garden is not the sure thing it once was. Anybody remember Indiana's 97-70 win here in Game 7 of the first round just three years ago?

The Celtics will win because of Eddie House. In a series dominated by home-court advantage, how can you go wrong with a guy named House.

The Cavs will win because Ray Allen is shooting the basketball the way Lyndon Byers shot the puck.

The Celtics will win because it's time for Pierce to step up and take his place with true Celtic royalty.

The Cavs will win because they have a tape of the Celtics' walkthrough.

The Celtics will win because the Cavs feature "the diff" (point differential) on their home scoreboard at Quicken Loans Arena. Fans who need to be told their team leads by 2 points don't deserve to go back to the conference finals.

The Cavs will win because the Celtics in the playoffs have been soft and lacked composure. The Celtics have caved under pressure. They've been front-runners. They're not the team they were in the regular season and they're not the champions we thought they were. The Celtics deserve to go home early.

Never mind all that. The Celtics will win today because they are playing at home.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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