Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Can the Boston Celtics dethrone the King?

Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum
Isaac Mcdaniel | 14 May, 2018, 00:17

It's impossible. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers once compared him to Earl Campbell, the Hall of Fame running back known for lowering his helmet and pulverizing sternums. And if the Celtics want to claim one of the most improbable Finals berths in history, he's the player they'll need to silence.

The Cavs visit Boston today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time) for the opening game in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals, with the victor to face either regular-season pacesetters Houston Rockets or defending champions Golden State Warriors. So, everybody is going insane over what he's doing but I'm not. The last time these teams met, James scored 24 points in 27 minutes of a 22-point blowout.

"When you come in to learn how this team works it takes some time and when the guys came in Kevin was out for a while and we didn't have that time to jell as a team". Against a guy like LeBron, it's the team.

"You dream about being able to play in big games in the National Basketball Association". Other injuries followed as rookie surprise Daniel Theis lost for the season and Kyrie Irving, acquired from the Cavs in a huge deal, was also lost - both with knee surgery. It also came from Love not settling for 3-point shots.

LeBron has been at the top of his game in these playoffs. He's the rare superstar whose name seems to surface in trade talks every winter.

Just like he has done against the Pacers and Raptors, LeBron will break the hearts of Boston's faithful.

His prolific-prone performances against Toronto alone gave him a whopping 36-point per game clip going to the Conference Finals, a first-class headache of a stat to any team trying to stop LeBron, if not defeat Cleveland.

Hill, the starting point guard and underrated piece who helps unlock so much of the Cavaliers' offense, was sidelined for three and a half games because of a stiff lower back. Lebron has played in so many Game Sevens, finals, etc.

The Toronto series showed what kind of team Cleveland can be when Love is on target.

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Cleveland opened as a 1.5-point favorite, while the Over/Under (O/U) for the game has been set at 204 points.

In those hard-fought seven games, only James ever reached the 20-point mark, an ominous sign for a team with visions on a deep playoff run. The game starts at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13, 2018, and will air on ABC.

Aside from Tristan Thompson's outstanding performance in Game 1 against Toronto, the Cavaliers haven't gotten a ton from their bench so far in the Playoffs. And when the conference finals move to Cleveland on May 19 for Game 3 - the Celtics' first visit to Quicken Loans Arena since Hayward's gruesome opening night injury - this nascent core will attempt to again carry this veteran load.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James has carried the Cavs on his back at times, averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 11 playoff games for the Cavaliers, who edged in in a seven-game first round before sweeping Eastern conference top seed Toronto in the second round. So take a bow, Terry Rozier.

Shane Larkin, Boston's backup point guard, suffered a shoulder sprain running into a Joel Embiid pick and has hopes of returning some time during the series.

Next year, one of them will. Stopping LeBron requires Jersey barriers and spike strips, and even then he might still steamroll you on rims alone.

Against Indiana, James was forced to do everything on his own, raising plenty of questions about the sketchy supporting cast.

There's no denying James's greatness or his ability to win this series all by himself. Keep searching for No. 0 and let's see what he's made of.

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