Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals will be hosted by Isaiah Thomas and resilient the Celtics as they face off against the bulldozing Cavs led by Lebron.The Celtics have not been this far in the playoffs since 2012 when they lost to Miami during Lebron’s tenure there. But their confidence would leave you under the impression that they have been here multiple times before. On Sunday, the day prior to Game 7 against the Wizards, Avery Bradley said, “We believe we should playing against Cleveland, and beat Cleveland and go to the championship.” Now that they have what they want, can they capitalize and upset the reigning champs? They would have to turn their level of play up several notches in order to compete with this playoff Cavs team. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 25.4 ppg on 44 percent shooting (34 percent from beyond the arc) to go with 6.5 apg. Those are decent numbers for a player of his caliber although he will certainly have to play even better than that while holding Kyrie to lower numbers. The Celtics have a more athletic and defensively sound bench than the Cavs but they lack the experience of being this far into the playoffs where stakes are much higher.
The Cavs are appearing in their 3rd straight ECF and they seem better than ever at this time of the year. They are currently 8-0 in these playoffs sweeping both the Pacers and the Raptors. Now they are playing the 1 seed in the East meaning they do not have home court advantage. The last time Lebron played a Game 1 on the road was in the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals where he led the Cavs to sweep the Atlanta Hawks. So beginning a series on another team’s court means nothing to the likes of James when getting his team ready to grab the momentum of the series and keep in the Cavs’ possession. Lebron is playing potentially the best basketball of his postseason career averaging 34.4 points on 55 percent shooting (46 percent from 3) to go with 9 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. He is on a rampage in efforts to reach the Finals and potentially win the second set of back-to-back championships in his career. Although for this series against Boston he will need Kyrie to step his game up and win his matchup against Isaiah Thomas in order to maintain control of the series and their destiny. Regardless of how well they have been playing this postseason, they cannot underestimate a team like the Boston Celtics.
As for Game 1, it is up to the Cavs as a whole to shake off any rust from their 10 days of rest and jump out the gates with a quick, strong lead. I’m sure, throughout their days of resting they still maintained a great amount of cardio work to keep their stamina game ready which is why I am a firm believer that the Cavs will continue to roll and will get the victory in Game 1. The Celtics had just endured a very physical series with the Washington Wizards and the Cavs are ready to bang them up even more. The Cavs have received a large abundance of rest throughout these playoffs and it has helped boost their level of play through the charts.