Brad Stevens 'Non-Committal' on Celtics' Starting Lineup vs. LeBron James, Cavs

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

He believes his team's mental toughness and grit have carried it more than anything he's done. Despite the predictions of most experts (five of five ESPN NBA Insiders picked the Cavs) and Las Vegas (Cleveland opened as 3-to-1 favorites) Boston can give the Cavs a run for their money.

"Sometimes going through adversity early forms togetherness".

Actually, let's take that one step further - Boston will beat Cleveland.

It's good to be the King, but not so good to guard him. For them to be able to see this far, and it to come out to play how it is, it's a little awesome. One thing about it, they have a lot of dogs over there. "Where we are in the season, I'm pretty comfortable".

Toronto's attempts to pick up ball handlers 90 feet away from the hoop were futile.

It could have been expected back in October, after the Celtics' bolstered their roster with the additions of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, whose departure from Cleveland left a sizeable hole next to LeBron James.

For the second straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers will meet the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

"It's good to win a Game 7 and it's important to come through when everything is on the line".

The Cavs' offensive game plan in this series will be the same as always - use screens to force switches, creating mismatches for their best players. "We know that it'll be quite a challenge". "As he's shown at various points in the first two rounds, there are certain times where there is just nothing you can do to slow him down". "I think there's still room to grow and we can still do better, but I think that series really helped us grow as a team". Beating Cleveland is about limiting his supporting cast, which is a doable proposition.

On Sunday, Numeral 23 suits up for his 35th career Playoff contest against the Celtics - coming into the Game 1 with averages of 28.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists over that span.

Boston on the other hand has melded as a team because of heart and great coaching. Love averaged 11.6 points and 9.3 rebounds, shooting a dismal.333 percent from the field vs. Indiana.




In the playoffs it's about that by-any-means-necessary approach. But what he did against the top seed Raptors was impressive even for him as he guided the way to a four-game sweep.

Guess what, they don't play this on paper. Lue and James trust Hill to set up the offense. "We know what we have to focus on". It's two teams that were written off plenty of times this season, yet here they are again.

"That's what you look forward to as a competitor".

These teams have a lot of history. We are kind of like the anti-NBA at the moment. You're trying to figure it out on the fly. "My thing is just cut down the easy baskets".

While concerning at the time, going seven games in the first round built character and taught invaluable lessons.

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. They've been on the biggest stage and know what it takes. Even though he's a young guy by age, he's not young by experience.

"Playoff series are just these emotional rollercoasters", Korver said. The Cavaliers won the series 4-1 over Boston. "I think (Terry) Rozier plays with more confidence at home, with the crowd behind him".

It sure looked that way against the Raptors in Round Two.

This season, James vaulted Scottie Pippen to take over first place in steals. Of the Celtics' 94 games, 50 have finished over the projected point total.

But the Cavaliers have enough firepower to light up Boston.

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