Eastern Conference Finals Preview

(1) Boston Celtics vs (2) Cleveland Cavaliers

 

Playoff Results: Celtics defeated Wizards 4-3, Cavaliers defeated Raptors 4-0

 

Season Series Results: Cavaliers 3-1

11/3 Cavaliers 128  Celtics 122

12/29 Cavaliers 124  Celtics 118

3/1    Celtics 103  Cavaliers 99

4/5   Cavaliers 114  Celtics 91

 

Key Factors:

Off Rtg

Def Rtg

Efg%

Tov%

Celtics

111.1

108.4

52.5

12.2

Cavaliers

113.6

110.3

54.7

12.6

 

 

Key Matchup: LeBron vs the Celtics

With the level that LeBron James is currently playing at it will take a collective effort by the Celtics to slow down or attempt to limit his output during this series. Bradley, Smart, Crowder, and company will all have chances to guard LeBron and if they can have some luck and his outside shot regresses towards the mean then the Celtics have a chance to make this a series but if he continues hitting 40 percent or higher while shooting over 50 percent from the field then Boston wont be able to make this series last more than 5 games.

 

X-Factor for Celtics: Isaiah Thomas:

Given how potent the Cavaliers offense has been this postseason it will take quite an effort from Thomas to keep the Celtics in the game. Thomas averaged 28.9 points during the regular season but he will need to average at least 30 in this series and he will have to outplay his matchup with Kyrie Irving. Thomas outplayed John Wall in 4 of the 7 games and its not a coincidence that Boston won those 4 and lost the 3 he didn’t outplay Wall. If Thomas can beat Irving then Boston could have a chance at getting to a game 7 against Cleveland.

 

X-Factor for Cavaliers: LeBron James

Its simple, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now, hes one of the games all-time greats, and he is playing some of the best ball of his career in this postseason. If he continues playing at the level he is on right now then Boston can not beat the Cavaliers. He is that good but should he start to come back down or hit a slump then the Celtics could take advantage but its hard to see that happening.

 

Analysis: Cleveland has looked like a juggernaut this postseason going 8-0 so far while Boston struggled with the 8 seed Bulls and then had to go 7 games to beat the Washington Wizards. If Boston is going to make this a series they will need help whether its Thomas going off or LeBron and company going cold for a game or two. It appears that Cleveland and Golden State are on a collision course for round 3 and I doubt Boston keeps the Cavaliers from defending their title.

 

Prediction: Cavaliers over Celtics in 5.

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