The Celtics lost the regular season series to Cleveland 2-1, but 2 of the 3 games were in Cleveland and Boston even managed to win 1 of them. The Celtics have improved a huge amount since they met the Cavs in the playoffs last year and if they meet again this postseason the results should be very different. The Celtics will show no fear, and certainly outperform last year's sweep, but beating Cleveland in a series is still a tall order, and would be a pretty sizable upset.
Isaiah Thomas on Cavs: "Hopefully we’ll see them down the road, and we’ll be playing for something then."
Playing physical and tough defense is their best chance, as we know LeBron doesn't react well to any physical contact that doesn't result in a flagrant foul being called (unless you count his off hand pushoffs on offense, then he will somehow thrive on contact and be shocked if it is deemed illegal).
However, against the Cavaliers last year the Celtics flat out could not score. With Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder stepping up their offense this season, that problem appears to have been lessened. We'll see what happens though as our offense still flows through our All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who struggled against the Cavs larger guards last year.
Jae Crowder says of a potential Celtics-Cavs playoff series, "If the time does come, we'll be ready."
The biggest advantage the Celtics have against the Cavaliers is their head coach. Brad Stevens just operates on an entire different level from Tyronn Lue (and assistant head coach LeBron James). There is still a significant talent gap, but who knows what happens once you roll the ball out.
A Boston vs. Cleveland matchup would probably be the most entertaining matchup the Eastern Conference is capable of generating. If it occurs, the Celtics players will be ready. Hopefully that translates to a long series, and a potential thrilling upset.
Photo Credit: John Kuntz / Northeast Ohio Media Group