What would a Celtics postseason be without LeBron James?
Seriously. It seems as though the C’s have matched up with James at some point in nearly every postseason they’ve made over the past 10 years.
But while James got two rings in Miami, he never got one in Cleveland – which is why he’s back there to begin with. In fact, it was the Celtics who prevented those championships from happening.
Let’s go back in time for a second. The year is 2010, and James had just won his second MVP award. The Celtics limped into the playoffs, but caught fire, going all the way to the NBA Finals.
Along the way, Boston took down the No. 1 seeded Cavaliers in six games. Who can forget that scene: James ripping off his Cavs jersey as he heads down the TD Garden tunnel after being eliminated … never to put it back on again until this season.
So, what are the chances we all experience déjà vu in 2015? In the words of Kevin Garnett, “Anything is possible!” So let’s go over why the Celtics could shock the NBA world, and also why it seems unlikely.
Why they will win:
It’s pretty hard to say the Celtics will beat the Cavaliers and then back that up with a bunch of statistics on why it’ll happen. On paper, the Cavaliers are simply better than the Celtics. But the game isn’t played on paper.
We’ll say this about the matchup: Brad Stevens is a better head coach than Cavs head coach David Blatt, and has his team’s full support. In fact, rarely can you go a single game without hearing multiple players on the team credit Stevens’ play-calling. His after-timeout plays have been appointment viewing this season.
All the pressure is on the Cavs, and if the C’s go out and just play team ball – whip it around the floor and find the open man – they can make things interesting. Oh, and the world is about to meet “Playoff Isaiah Thomas”.
Why they won’t win:
We already discussed reason No. 1: LeBron James. Over his career, he’s averaged more points against the Celtics in the regular season than he has against any other team in the NBA (29.8). The C's can’t put Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce on him anymore, either. It’ll be a team effort, headed by Evan Turner and Jae Crowder most likely. Can they handle him?
But this isn’t a one-man show in Cleveland anymore. Kyrie Irving is one of the game’s best point guards, and the trade for Kevin Love – though at times he’s seemed to not fit – makes them that much more dangerous.
Cleveland has the talent, but the Celtics might be a tougher bunch. A couple punches to the mouth and we’ll have ourselves a series.