I was locked in to the Cavs and Celtics game yesterday. I picked the Cavs in 5 so I didn’t take much stock into the first few possessions. Then, the Cavs kept bricking and the Celtics kept making shots. Oddly enough, the Marcus Morris-LeBron James matchup was won by Morris. That can’t be expected to continue. In fact, there is a less than 0% chance that continues. However, the “others” for the Cavs were severely outplayed by the Celtics “others”.
Here’s a question: “Who truly are the Celtics’ ‘others’?” Jason Tatum is the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs and basically mocked the 76ers for trading up to draft a guy who played a total of ZERO minutes in their series matchup, but Al Horford is clearly their Alpha Dog. However, Terry Rozier has played himself into an 8-figure contract, and Jaylen Brown has shown stardom flashes since last year.
I picked the Cavs in 5, and I stand by that. But if the Celtics are to win this series, it will be because the Marcus’ outdueled the likes of Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Tristan Thompson.
The foursome of JR Smith, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love, and LeBron James obviously has the edge over the Celtic top four due strictly to the overwhelming presence of LBJ. But take him out and pick any of the four to take out for the C’s and it’s a toss-up in my opinion. The only differentiating factor is experience. Championship experience. Think about this; LeBron averaged 27, 7, & 7 and made his first All-Star Game in 2004-2005. That All-Star game was played on February 20, 2005. Jason Tatum and Terry Rozier turned 6 and 10 years old, respectively, the next month and Jaylen Brown was 9. That means three of the four to five guys the C’s NEED to come through probably had LeBron James posters on their walls growing up. True, these dudes aren’t scared at all, but they also have never been here before.
That inexperience coupled with the calm among calamity that the Cavs displayed on Sunday leads me to stick to my 5-game prediction. Emotion is good enough to get you a game at home. Game 2, however, will be different. I’m not a Cavs fan, and certainly not a LeBron apologist, but I just don’t think the Celtics have enough fire power to consistently battle LeBron and them. If the Cavs shoot even their average from 3 yesterday, whole different game. In sports, things tend to regress to the mean, and the Law of Averages takes over. I believe that will be the case here. In the middle two quarters, the game was played fairly even, which is more indicative of how the series will be. At the end of the day, if the Fightin’ LeBrons win Game 2, the series is tied 1-1. Period. Point spread doesn’t matter.
Cavs in 5, man. FIVE! In the words of the great philosopher NeNe Leakes, “I said what I said.”