Sports

Baynes and Celtics ready for LeBron's Cavs

Baynes and Celtics ready for LeBron's Cavs

Of the Celtics' 94 games, 50 have finished over the projected point total.

The fourth-seeded Cavaliers invade TD Garden for Sunday's series opener and they are looking to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season. Charles Barkley declared "their season is over" on national television. They struggled in April, finishing with a net rating of -2.9 per the NBA's stats - the only month of their season in the negatives.

Valuable piece Marcus Smart went down late after right thumb surgery - and the list went on and on - but it never really stopped Brad Stevens' team. "I think it's been designed that way so guys can just develop and learn as they go", Horford said.

"They haven't influenced my career; I've influenced my own career", Smart said with a defiant edge to his voice. I didn't see any of that. "Where we are in the season, I'm pretty comfortable".

If you're wondering what more LeBron James can do to blow your mind during the 2018 postseason, sit back for some fireworks as the four-time MVP squares off against the squad he loves to hate for the next two weeks.

It's something of a shame that Oladipo only got seven games in his first playoff as his team's starring attraction.

But James is still James and has carried the Cavaliers to the doorstep of another trip to the National Basketball Association finals, something they'll accomplish by getting past the undermanned and surprising Celtics.

"With this group", said Horford, "we have more depth in those positions suited more to guard LeBron". We have a lot of guys who have nothing to lose. As will that crew of youngsters led by Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown.




The Warriors dominating the Western Conference playoffs is so old hat at this point that they've sort of been ignored so far in these playoffs.

"A lot of people are saying, 'How can they succeed like this without Gordon Hayward?' I've heard that", James said. He's been out since the first quarter of Game 1, so it's like do we even know who they would have ... he's not even like been on the team. "You work all season to earn the trust of your teammates and coaching staff for moments like this, whether it's finding Al on the lob or a layup".

When Brad Stevens accepted the Celtics head coaching job five years ago, he didn't allow himself to get caught up in thinking about how he could add his name to the franchise's rich history.

IN pushed Cleveland to seven games in the opening round. Lew Alcindor, then of the Milwaukee Bucks, holds the record with 10 in a row in 1970.

The Celtics may be thin without Irving, big man Daniel Theis, and even backup guard Shane Larkin, but it's not like the Cavs are deep - the Celtics have seven players averaging 20 postseason minutes a game and the Cavs only six.

"It's still fresh; it's still sore", he said.

"This team is the most mentally tough team I've ever been on", Brown said. "It's frustrating, but I've got to keep staying positive, keep getting treatment and try to get back out there". With 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting, LeBron James was the game's high scorer.

Despite the fact that James saw success when Morris defended him on 55 possessions during the regular season, going 8-of-16 while drawing four shooting fouls and scoring 24 points in two games, the Celtics forward revealed that he has studied the tendencies of Kawhi Leonard and Lance Stephenson, both of whom have had some success in defending the King.


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