The Eastern Conference Finals are set. Somehow the injury-riddled Boston Celtics managed to scratch their way into the final four of the NBA. The odds have become less and less in Boston’s favor as the series’ have advanced, and now they have their biggest foe yet. Lebron James. Lebron and the Cavs made easy work of the 1 seeded Raptors in the second round with a sweep. He’s in Toronto’s heads big time. It’s obvious, however, that he is not in Boston’s heads nearly as much as he’d like to be. This Boston team doesn’t care who they play, they’re simply just never intimidated. With that said, Brad Stevens is gonna need to come up with the best game plan of his life to get through Cleveland and King James. With Kyrie Irving healthy, this would be one of the most anticipated playoff series of all time. If only.
Celtics Key to Winning: Defending Lebron how they Defended Embiid
The smartest way to defend Lebron is to not defend him. Sounds weird, but that’s kind of what they need to do. Obviously do whatever is necessary to stop him but stopping everybody else around him is more important. Lebron is a beast and is gonna basically do whatever he wants to. The Celtics need to get over that reality, and they were able to with Embiid. If the Celtics allow Lebron to drop 40 every night, but the rest of the team only collectively drops around 50, it’s a success. What that means is locking down the perimeter tight. Most likely Lebron will push into the paint and have a million fouls called in his favor or want to pass it out to open three point shooters. With the perimeter on lock, it won’t lead to many points. This is the best way for the Celtics to keep themselves in these games.
Cavs Key to Winning: Lebron James
Saying anything besides Lebron would just be outrageous and completely wrong. He’s the only reason this team has made it this far without him. He dictates their success or failure. If he even has just a good game they lose. He needs to play out of his mind each and every game and I believe that he will from here on out. In the 2018 playoffs, he’s averaging 34.3ppg, 9apg, and 9.4rpg. The dude does it all and it’s his 15th fucking season in the league. He’s the GOAT in my opinion and to beat the Celtics he’ll need to keep doing it all.
Celtics Wild Card to Winning: The Guards and Wings
The Cavaliers were one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA this past season. The Celtics need to be super aggressive on offense and score a shit ton of points. They need to force a bunch of switches and confuse that less than impressive Cavs D. Scary Terry, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown need to abuse those smaller garbage defenders. If Horford and Baynes can set good screens and cause a bunch of switches, it should result in tons of open 3’s. Also, Marcus Morris absolutely sucked in the series against the Sixers, so he needs to step it up too. Getting him open threes will be huge for his confidence and will help the team as well. Giving up 2’s and scoring 3’s is fine by me.
Cavs Wild Card to Winning: Kevin Love
We can all agree that Kevin Love was once debatably the best big man in this league. Recently, however, he’s hasn’t been playing like his old self partially because of being in Lebron’s shadow. Game 2 against the Raptors showed glimpses of prime Kevin Love. He dropped 31 points and pulled in 11 rebounds. If he does any damage similar to that against Boston, they’ll have no shot to dethrone the Cavs. Love is super versatile with his ability to bully in the paint and also be lights out from three. Furthermore, Being as big as he is will be tough for Boston to defend around the perimeter as they’re also gonna want guys to double Lebron at the rim. If he plays at his best, Kevin Love will be the second best player in this series.
My Prediction: Cavs in 6
Look, if Kyrie was playing in this series I’d pick Boston in 6. He’s not though and neither is Gordon Hayward. This Cavs team in all honestly kinda sucks, but they have one of the top two players to ever play this game on their squad. Lebron James is just too damn good to beat. The Celtics need to try and tire him out, yet that seems impossible. With all that said, Boston is fierce and relentless, so I figure they can snag 2 games in this series. Boston fans should expect Lebron to blow them out once or twice and be okay with that. After all, nobody in the world expected them to get this far. A final take to remember: Never count out Brad Stevens. Ever.
-Brandon Black(Follow @bhblack02)