The Celtics and Cavaliers meet on Sunday for a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals. Heck, so much has changed since these teams met on opening night. They're versatile. So even though they lost two really good players, they're not lacking for talent. We'll miss Kyrie and Isaiah and some of the storylines we were promised on after a insane offseason, but this series should still have plenty of intrigue.
LeBron James is definitely one of those players, and his destination - either Cleveland or elsewhere - is still yet to be determined.
That's likely what the Celtics are banking on, even if they aren't eager to foist the responsibility of guarding James exclusively onto Morris. He enters the series averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game through 10 contests. This is arguably peak LeBron. When Leonard won his MVP, it was largely due to his ability to "slow down" James and not allow him to just run wild during the entire series.
The Celtics have home-court advantage again, but the Cavs are the prohibitive favorites to win the East. Cleveland is a 1.5-point favorite in Game 1, according to OddsShark, and the over/under is 204. That the series was over in four games was a big surprise. One guy (is) going to have a tough time trying to stop LeBron James. The Celtics are 4-1 SU and ATS when on three or more days' rest while the Cavs are were 0-3 SU and ATS. Brad Stevens posed Saturday afternoon. The Raptors were so ineffective that James not only dominated, but his teammates found open shots and scored all over the floor as well. With that said, many question how competitive this series will actually be. Specifically, Kevin Love and Kyle Korver.
Like James, Rozier first bounced a ball in Northeast Ohio.
Per BetOnline, the Cavs have the best odds to land James at +125 (5-4). He increased his scoring average by almost eight points from Round 1, and his field-goal percentage improved significantly as well.
Forgrave, Ward-Henninger, and Maloney, in fact, believe Golden State will keep the West Division crown in six games, while Botkin, Herbert and Barnewall see the contest end in full seven games, also in favor of the Warriors.
Kevin Love played so much better against the Raptors than the Pacers.
The Celtics have already learned how to defend Antetokounmpo and Simmons, whose games are in many ways similar to James'. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how he performs against the Cavs during the upcoming series, especially with the stakes so high; something that can lead to struggles especially for young players like Tatum. This matchup could very well end up being a bellwether for the series.
"I think they are one of the most well-coached teams in our league", James said, via Dakota Randall of NESN. In the past, he has had some of the biggest moments of his career against the Celtics. The Celtics needed just five games to beat the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Cavs and Warriors, LeBron and Steph, have faced off in the past three National Basketball Association finals.
And with that, the Boston Celtics went into action to try to wash those comments under the rug.
James has averaged 30.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.1 assists while going 8-9 on Boston parquet's hardwood. Something will have to give in this series. And even though they're unlikely to win, they've made it clear they want the challenge. "Certainly I'll pick Kyrie's brain on not only him but the other guys around him". He's not gonna make every insane play every time down.
Rozier made it 113-109 with his free throws but then a J.J. Reddick's three pointer got the 76ers back to one point with 3.8 seconds left. The Celtics prefer an underdog mentality anyway, right?