Let’s go ahead and say it. The Cleveland Cavaliers are headed to the NBA Finals. The question is can the Boston Celtics make the Eastern Conference Finals competitive enough to make it entertaining?
After being pushed by the Washington Wizards in a grueling seven games series, the Celtics have the unenviable task of facing a rested Cavaliers group that hasn’t lost single contest in the playoffs.
Factor in that this rested undefeated team is lead by one of the greatest players in the history of professional sports, and the brutal truth smacks even a Celtics diehard in the face with a clenched fist.
On Wednesday, the Cavaliers will kick off the next phase in their march to greatness as they host the Celtics.
“They’re a worthy opponent,” LeBron James said after the Cavaliers concluded their final practice during an extended layoff. “We have to game plan every game. We have to game plan for what they bring to the table. And we have to mentally focus on our challenges that we have every game.”
James has an extended postseason history with the Celtics. As a member of both the Cavs and the Miami Heat, he has taken them out of the equation time and time again.
Despite his ups and one down in 2010 against the Celtics, James is focused on a bigger plan.
“He wants to go down as the greatest ever and he’s focused on that every day,” Cleveland forward Kyle Korver said. “It’s amazing, the level of focus and intensity he puts into his daily habits is something that I don’t people understand how hard it is to do.”
There exists a school of thought that says Boston has more than a chance to win this series. They are after all the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
James doesn’t think that anything that happens in the regular session matters at the moment. So much so that he’s completely disregarded the Cavaliers 114-91 beatdown of the Celtics on April 5.
“It’s two different teams,” James said when asked if there was something to be gained from that victory. “We’re a totally different team. They’re a totally different team at this point. I don’t take nothing away.”
When: 5-17-2017 (8:30 PM EST)
Key Question For Cavaliers: Can Cleveland jump out to a big lead early to take the crowd out of the game?
Key Question For Celtics: Is there enough juice left in the tank to keep this game close enough to make a run in the 4th period?
Watch: Best Moments From Cavaliers Vs. Celtics 2017 Reg Season