Why LeBron James Believes Brad Stevens Hype Has Been 'Overblown' This Season

13 May, 2018, 01:54 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • Joel Embiid Ben Simmons

Once the team's shooters found their legs, they helped wreck havoc on the Toronto Raptors. That is basically the feeling with the Sixers after losing to the Boston Celtics 4-1 in what was a tightly contested series.

The University of California product put together his best series of last year's playoffs against the Cavs.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - LeBron James will open his eighth straight Eastern Conference finals Sunday with banners hanging above him at TD Garden honoring four Boston Celtics legends who are the only players to appear in more consecutive NBA Finals than the Cleveland Cavaliers star.

Game 1 will be on Sunday, May 13 at Boston, 3:30 p.m. ET.

"You know, so many people, after Gordon got hurt and Kyrie, (Marcus) Smart went down for a while, and (Daniel) Theis, nobody expected us to be going to the Eastern Conference finals", said Celtics rookie forward Jayson Tatum. We're doing the same now. It's been that way since Gordon Hayward was injured on opening night of the regular season in Cleveland. That sentiment increased substantially when it was announced last month that Irving underwent a knee procedure that required a lengthy recovery.

The Boston Celtics held practice on Friday afternoon, where we heard from Brad Stevens, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier.

Now that Jaylen Brown is healthy, I think he will get an opportunity to defend LeBron. "But, at the same time, I want to compete".

What has made the difference between this D'Antoni coached team and others in the past are the number of good individual defenders that are on his roster next to Paul and Harden.

The Celtics doubters have been stubborn. However, he doesn't provide any spark on the offensive end, and the Celtics probably can't afford to give him many minutes in this series.

The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics, 102-99, in the regular-season opener at Quicken Loans Arena, but fell, 102-88, in Boston on January 3.

The disrespect has been everywhere, and the Celtics have feasted on it. Joel Embiid is a superstar. Boston may not be able to sustain this level of clutch efficiency but they certainly appear more confident and organized in these scenarios than the Raptors were.

But James proved his postseason bona fides yet again, and the Celtics, thanks to the emergence of "Scary" Terry Rozier, also proved up to the task by eliminating the 76ers.

Boston makes a defense work for the entire 24 seconds, Cleveland has not been good at second and third defensive efforts. James is now playing in another stratosphere than any other player in the playoffs.

Per usual, then, the Celtics will roll out their standard cast approach to covering James, who has averaged an NBA-leading 34.3 points along with nine assists per game in the postseason.

And yet, starting shooting guard Kyle Korver thinks the Boston Celtics represent an even bigger challenge for Cleveland's surging offense.

Past year when these teams met in the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics had that feel of a happy-to-be-there team.

LeBron James has been connected to at least half a dozen teams in the National Basketball Association rumor mill - including the Lakers, Clippers, 76ers - but with no better options than the one he has right now, King James could end up staying in Cleveland once free agency starts for him this summer.

But the feel is different this time around.

"I spent a lot of time with him (Thursday)", Stevens said.

It's tough to see [Kyrie Irving] over there when we did play against him, because he's a big part of what we did.

"This team is going to be hard, it's going to be a fight", Rockets center Clint Capela told reporters.



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