Posted: 5/19/2017 11:49:01 AM
NBA Preview: The Celtics need to find a way to derail
LeBron James and the Cavaliers to have any chance of making this a competitive
Cavaliers (60-31) at #1 Boston Celtics (61-35), Friday, 8:30 p.m. EST
Line: Cavaliers -5.5.
Game 2 will probably be Boston’s best chance to win a
game in this series.
That statement is not a knock on the talent level of the
Celtics. Boston has a very good team. Many people picked the Wizards to knock
the Celtics off in the conference semifinals. However, the Cavaliers and
especially LeBron James are simply on another level.
Boston does not have anyone who can guard King James.
Consequently, LeBron toyed with the Celtics defense at times. James messed
around and scored 38 points, grabbed 9 boards and dished out 7 assists. He shot
at least 50% from the field for the ninth straight playoff game, going
Kevin Love was scorching hot from beyond the arc,
especially in the third quarter for the Cavaliers. Love was 5-for-7 shooting
three-pointers in the third quarter, while shooting 6-for-9 for the game from
three-point land. Love finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds for the game.
Tristan Thompson was all over the court for the Cavs. He
was all over the offensive glass, too, grabbing 6 offensive rebounds. Thompson
was 7-for-7 from the field and scored 20 points. He was aggressive switching on
the Boston pick-and-rolls. Thompson did not give any space to Boston’s Isaiah
Thomas when he ended up guarding the Celtics point guard on switches.
Kyrie Irving had a pedestrian game for Cleveland with 11
points and 6 assists. However, Irving did not have to do much as he deferred to
LeBron, Love and Thompson in Game 1.
For the Celtics, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley scored 21
points apiece. Crowder got hot from beyond the arc in the second half, going
4-of-5 from three-point land. Thomas only shot 7-for-19 for the game and
finished with 17 points. He admitted after the game that he needs to shoot
Boston did shoot a lot better in the second half. The
Celtics shot 25-for-43 from the field (58.1%) and 10-for-22 from three-point
land (45.5%). However, the problem is that Boston was down 22 points going into
the second half. When the Cavaliers were playing hard in the first half, the
Celtics only shot 35.6% from the field and 12.5% from beyond the arc.
So did Boston do enough in the second half to warrant
enough confidence from anyone to believe that they can beat Cleveland in Game 2
and even the series?
The Celtics know that if they lose Game 2, the series is
over. Heck, they may collectively already know the series is over, but they are
not going to admit it publicly. Boston will fight hard and give everything they
have in Game 2 in hopes of making this a series. However, there is one big
problem and he wears #23 in the dark blue uniforms.
How does Boston stop the freight train who is LeBron
James? The Celtics had no answer for him in Game 1. Celtics Coach Brad Stevens
will have to figure out a way to get the ball out of LeBron’s hands and keep it
out of his hands. King James has scored at least 32 points in every playoff
game this postseason except for Game 2 against Indiana in the first round.
James still had 25 points, 10 boards, 7 assists, 4 blocks and 4 steals, but he
also had 8 turnovers in that game.
Coach Stevens may want to glance at the film from that
Normally, this would be a let-down situation for the
Cavaliers after a dominant road win in Game 1. Most teams would ease their foot
off the gas pedal in Game 2 because they have taken away home-court advantage
from their opponent. However, Cleveland is now 9-0 this postseason and would
love to match Golden State's 10-0 start. Therein lies the motivation for the
Cavs to win Game 2. Cleveland wants to keep pace with the Warriors and that
motivational factor may be just enough to overcome the nice bounce-back spot
for the Celtics in Game 2 after getting trounced in Game 1.
record: 16-7 (+$745).
No play tonight although I have a lean to the Cavaliers.