The Celtics seemingly had their championship hopes derailed following the season-ending injuries to both of their offseason additions in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. Isaiah Thomas went from Boston to Cleveland in that deal; his season is over because he's long moved on from the Cavs.
Scribbles in my Cleveland Cavaliers notebook as they prepare to open the Eastern Conference Finals in Boston against the Celtics:1.
Yes, those storylines would have been fascinating, but this series and these teams hold plenty of intrigue as is. "But I think that one of the things that helps them is the way that coach helps them prepare and the way that he teaches them the game".
"Just the history, you look up in the rafters and you see all the greats that has either played there or the previous arena they played in", he said.
The shakeup sort of helped, but let's also remember the new-look Cavs were almost eliminated in the first round by Indiana. So we can talk from, like, potential, but he's been out since the first quarter of Game 1 in Cleveland.
There were a number of issues that factored into Toronto's inability to contain James. There's also no doubt that what happened against the Raptors was due to some circumstances that will be hard for Cleveland to replicate against the Celtics.
Like James, Rozier first bounced a ball in Northeast Ohio. It's carried over into the postseason where he is averaging 18.2 points per game.
Meanwhile, James isn't buying into the chatter about how his squad will overwhelm the Celtics.
Irving will watch this year's rematch from the sideline after a pair of knee surgeries late in the regular season denied him an opportunity to play this postseason. But that was Brown's rookie season and the springy 21-year-old who is known for his learning ability has taken huge leaps in both skill and confidence since then.
James hasn't yet had a chance to reflect on his own run but says he isn't taking anything for granted at this point in his career.
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Boston has become a preferred spring destination for James. They're really good. They're always in the right spot.
James is, obviously, more unsafe than Antetokounmpo or Simmons.
The one constant has been Cleveland's LeBron James, who at age 33 has again found another gear in the playoffs despite the different pieces surrounding him. The Celtics have home court advantage over the Cavs but will need a lot more than that to beat them.
Points at the line could be rare for Boston in this contest.
Horford has been a leader for Boston through the 12 playoff games, averaging 17.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game - essentially doing everything for his team.
Against Boston, however, Love will be facing Horford, who been a defensive beast in the playoffs and Boston's bedrock all season. Coming back from [deficits] most teams wouldn't come back from.
Can the play of the young C's continue? James is going to be great; that's a given. But there's also no denying the Celtics are more balanced and versatile with a better defense and coach.
Boston ranks 10th in rebounds per game (44.2) while Cleveland ranks 25th (41.7).