Barring a crazy comeback, all signs point to the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics are up 3-1 against the Sixers, and Philadelphia would need to win the next three games to survive. The Cavs and Celtics have been on a collision course after both squads jumped out to early leads in their second round matchups. According to Sports Media Watch, the conference finals are slated to start on Tuesday, May 15, with the potential for the NBA to move up the Eastern Conference Finals to Sunday, May 13 or Monday, May 14.
Cleveland took two out of three games against Boston during the regular season. The Cavs won 121-99 when the two teams last met in February. Boston still had Kyrie Irving in the lineup at the time, and the Cavs had seven players who scored in double digits.
LeBron James has been the story of the playoffs thanks to his dominance against the Raptors along with a few buzzer beaters. James had 38 points, seven assists and six rebounds in Game 3 against Toronto. James had an even bigger performance in Game 2 with 43 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds in an 18-point win against the Raptors. James is averaging nearly a triple-double in the post-season. James is putting up 34.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Even though the Cavaliers took a commanding 3-0 lead in their second round series with Toronto, James refused to address a potential matchup with the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I don’t really want to talk about Boston right now, just yet,” James told WKYC. “I still gotta lot of work to in this series…It’s the playoffs. I wouldn’t expect anything less of that. I go into a game thinking physicality from the beginning, so my mindset doesn’t change…If we happen to be fortunate enough to win this series. I’ll give you a lot of insight into what I feel about Boston.”
The two teams met in the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, and the Cavaliers took the series 4-1. Cleveland also swept Boston in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. Both teams look a bit different this time around as the Celtics are led by a mostly young core with injuries hitting the team hard this season.
Not only has James been dominant, but Kevin Love is playing at a high level as well. Love is averaging 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds in the playoffs. Love posted 21 points and 11 rebounds in the Cavs narrow Game 3 win against Toronto. He also had 31 points and 11 rebounds in Game 2.
The Celtics have been one of the surprises of the playoffs. Despite being shorthanded, coach Brad Stevens has found a way to put his team in prime position to succeed in the postseason. Count Kobe Bryant as a fan of Stevens’ coaching ability.
“To be able to see the game like that requires a lot of film study,” Bryant told Fox Sports (via Boston.com). “Watching film over and over and over, studying over and over and over, to then be able to observe things in real time. That can only be done by a person who has that level of commitment to the game . . . It doesn’t happen if you don’t have it.”
Source: Heavy Sports