It always seems to have been LeBron James against the world — at least the NBA world.And the biggest obstacle he’s routinely met in his NBA career has been the Boston Celtics.
There have been countless matchups against Boston, including bucket-for-bucket, back-and-forth affairs with Paul Pierce and, of course, the playoff series two seasons ago that ended the James-Cleveland Cavaliers era. That night James seemingly gave up on the group, taking off his jersey before he even reached the locker room while signaling a big change was about to take place in the NBA, one way or another.
Last season, it was James and the Heat who got the best of the Celtics in a series that wasn’t close.
Now, it’s more than just James.
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James is the poster boy for one of the most disliked teams in league history, a team that seemed to be celebrating championships before they even practiced together.
Another disliked player — albeit not around here — in Kevin Garnett, is doing everything in his power to go out with what was previously thought to be an impossible chance at another ring before his career ends. He’s averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds in the postseason, while providing all the defense and intensity necessary to get to this point. Garnett is the best big man in the series by far — especially with Chris Bosh out indefinitely — and should play like it.
And don’t forget Rajon Rondo. Remember what happened to him last postseason against the Heat?
Dwyane Wade pulled Rondo down, dislocating his elbow and limiting his abilities the rest of the way. Now, Rondo has never been a bigger part of the team’s success and it will interesting to see what a healthy Rondo can do against James, Wade and Co..
With Avery Bradley down for the postseason, Rondo may spend ample time playing defense on Wade. If he can limit him, and still provide enough on offense, the C’s have a real chance in this.
Boston treats every game, every series, every season like its last. Miami’s doesn’t care who it goes through at this point, it just needs one title to validate itself.
Whether or not this recent rivalry is actually the last matchup between the two sides in the postseason, with the current makeup of each team hanging in the balance, doesn’t matter much for either side. They are solely concerned on getting to the Finals.