After Beating Back the Wizards, Does Boston Stand a Chance Against the Cavs?
In a series that was filled with theatrics, game-winning shots and surprising performances, the Boston Celtics did just enough to push their noses across the finish line to win the series against the Washington Wizards four games to three. Taking Game 7, 115-105, the C’s booked a date with the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In a rematch of a series from two years ago, the matchup pits the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference. For those who remember, Boston was the happy recipient of the Cavs going into cruise control the last month of the season,as they were able to land the number one seed in the process. Looking at the season series, however, we see that Cleveland won three out of the four contests. While all the games, save for the first, were reasonably close, the Cavs took both games in Cleveland and split the two games played in Boston.
The Cavs enter the matchup with a perfect 8-0 record, looking like a buzz-saw in setting up the conference finals series with little opposition. Although Boston will have the benefit of having home court advantage, the Cavs come in focused and well rested, whereas the Celtics will have little time to collect its bearings after a physical and emotional challenging series with Washington.
LeBron James is doing LeBron things, averaging 29.3 points to go along with 9.5 rebounds and 9.8 assists a game versus Boston in the regular season matchup. In fact, James has shifted into another gear during this postseason and has upped his scoring average to 34.4, while also shooting better from the floor and three-point-range as well. If LeBron gets into one of those zones where he raises his play to near Superman-like levels, he will be very hard to contain, regardless of opponent.
Isaiah Thomas has had quite the emotional roller coaster this post-season. In dealing with the sudden death of his sister right before the playoff opener versus the Bulls, as well as losing the first two games of that series at home, Thomas has performed as well as you could ask for anyone going through a that type of trauma. While his scoring numbers are a bit down during the playoffs, Thomas did pour in 29 points along with pitching in 12 assists in the series-clinching win on Monday.
All in all, Boston has shown the ability to play the Cavs close during the regular season and with as much going on in the personal life of their star player in Thomas, the Celtics have rallied around him in dispatching the Bulls and Wizards. That being said, they are facing an entirely different animal in the Cavs. The home-court advantage will help Boston in taking one or two games from Cleveland, but look for the LeBron and company to take the East for the third year in a row and punch its ticket to a third straight NBA Finals.