Have No Fear, The King is Here
LeBron James and The Cleveland Cavaliers started the eastern conference finals with five days of rest. LeBron led his team in a sweep victory against the top-seeded Toronto Raptors in four games. Coming into the eastern conference finals, the Cavs are looking to keep the winning momentum going. But the Cavs must face young Celtics team who is looking to stay hot. How will LeBron lead his team against this red-hot Celtics team?
The Cavs were healthy and ready to face the young banged up Celtics team, who are without their primary all-stars in Kyrie Irving who has been sidelined since March due to knee surgery and Gordon Hayward who broke his foot on opening night. The Celtics started off hot in a game one match at the Boston Garden.
The main assignment the Celtics had was finding a way to stop LeBron James. The Celtics made that happen when forward Marcus Morris made his first start this postseason to guard James, in what seemed to be an impossible mission.
Morris scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds while pestering James into a playoff-high seven turnovers and a playoff low 15 points. Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and Al Horford had 20 for Boston. Everyone on the Celtics team seemed to be getting points on the board and playing top-notch defense. They slowed down the king and his comrades to beat the Cavs 83 to 108 by the Celtics in game one.
Is it time to panic in Cleveland?
After the blowout loss to the Celtics, the Cavs tried to bounce back heading into game two. It seems every time LeBron James goes through a blowout loss in the playoffs, he automatically turns into Superman and easily dominates his opponents.
Not in this game.
The Celtics took a 2-0 lead on the Cavaliers despite LeBron exploding for 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds having a monstrous triple-double night. It takes more than just a triple double to beat an opponent, and the Cavs came out short-handed with no contribution from other players beside Kevin Love, who scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Other than that the only Cavs player who managed to crack double figures was Kyle Korver with 11 points.
The Cavs offense needs to contribute more, it makes you wonder how James managed to torch the Celtics defense with a triple-double despite the loss. Jaylen Brown scored 23 points, Terry Rozier added 18 points, while Al Horford finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Celtics are beating the Cavaliers in ways they can’t seem to stop.
Everyone on the Celtics are playing their role and performing at a high level. With Coach of the Year candidate Brad Stevens leading the charge for the Celtics, it seems that the king is facing roadblocks back to the NBA Finals.
The Cavs are heading home
Game three was highly talked about. What will LeBron James do going into game three down 2-0? Many think this might be the first time James will be eliminated before the NBA Finals in a long time. In game three offense for the Cavs was not a problem. The Cavs played liked they never played before, when facing a possible sweep by the Celtics.
LeBron James had 27 points on an efficient 8-for-12 shooting, but it was his 12 assists that won Cleveland the game.
The rest of the team picked up the pace and the starters all managed to score over double figures. Kevin Love added 13 points and 14 rebounds, George Hill added 13 points, JR Smith had 11 points and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 7 rebounds. This is the Cavs team the whole world was waiting for in game one and game two. If the Cavs want to be respected, each player must contribute on a nightly basis.
Questions that will be answered in game four
Coming into game 4, LeBron and the Cavs are looking to pick-up where they started off in a bounce-back victory in game three. Who is going to step-up for the Cavs besides James? Who will lead the Celtics to try to upset the Cavaliers? Will it be Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum? Will LeBron James lead the Cavs past the Celtics, to make another appearance in the NBA Finals come June?
There are many questions left to be answered in game four, and in the rest of the series. We will have to watch and see the King work his magic against the Celtics this series to come out victorious and reach his eighth straight NBA Finals, and lead the Cavs to their fourth straight NBA Finals.
Photo Credit: Google, labeled for reuse