JR Smith: Celtics not a "big threat" to Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers hate the Boston Celtics. And vice versa.

In the beginning of Lebron's career, the Paul Pierce-led Celtics dominated the Cavaliers, often times being the thorn in the King's side.

Then, the tables turned and, after a stint with the Miami Heat, Lebron returned to "The Land" to finish what was he started. First, the Celtics faced the Cavs in the 2014-15 playoffs (Brad Stevens' second year). Boston came in as the 7th seed and faced the 2nd seed Cavs. We didn't stand a chance and were unceremoniously swept.

The only damage we did to the Cavs in that series came courtesy of Mr. Clumsy -- Kelly Olynyk -- and the "inadvertent" shoulder separation of Kevin Love.

Most recently, the Cavs gave it to us again, this time in the Eastern Conference Finals some four months ago. After our leading man -- now former leading man -- Isaiah Thomas walked off the court with a hip injury for what was his last game as a Celtic, Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley led the squad to their only victory in Game 3.

The other games? Well, you don't need me to tell you. They gave it to us like they hate us. As well they should have. If the roles were reversed, I'd have a John Creese "no mercy" attitude too.

Then there was the trade.

As if going into this season wouldn't have come with its own set of what-ifs: will the C's/Cavs meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals? Can the Celtics make it a series? How did Stevens prepare? Blah blah blah. As if there wouldn't have been enough to write about, suddenly we had a Summertime switch the likes of which the NBA has never seen.

As a result, Kyrie Irving is now a Celtic. Isaiah Thomas is now a Cavalier, as is Jae Crowder and, sitting somewhere in Dan Gilbert's desk, rests the coveted 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick. Also added into the mix for the Celtics via free agency and the draft was former Utah Jazz all-star Gordon Hayward, #3 overall pick Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris (via a trade for Avery Bradley to make room for Hayward), and several other important role players.

To call this Celtics team a different squad than last year would be an understatement.

Some pundits say this new team is much better.

Some say they're about as good as last year. while some say we're worse.

And then there's JR Smith. According to Mass Live's Jay King, JR was quoted as saying:

I think they're the same. I don't want to say the same team, obviously because they're different people in different jerseys. But I don't really (think they) pose as a big threat to us.

Newsflash, Mr. Smith. We do. While Isaiah was undoubtedly our floor general, you have to remember that Uncle Drew knows how to dance on anyone (including you) in the league, especially dudes he faced in practice on a regular basis.

Here's the full clip of what Smith had to say about our beloved Celtics:


Fact is, one of the biggest threats to the Celtics is now a Celtic himself. At one point in previous years, the Celtics had Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart -- two of the leagues top on-ball guard defenders -- trying to stop Kyrie. The result: Kyrie cooked and cooked and cooked, dancing on two elite defenders as if they were G-League rejects.

Truth be told, as a Celtics fan, I feared Kyrie more than Lebron. And now that assassin wears #11 for the green-and-white. Yes, Isaiah Thomas is now a Cav, but his status is uncertain. Will he come back to the IT everyone knows and loves? Will he be able to remain healthy and try to symbolically flip Danny Ainge off with his playoff performances? That remains to be seen.

But to say that a team comprised of three all-stars -- Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford -- along with young studs in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, isn't a threat? I beg to differ.

All that said, I still think the Cavs have a better team overall (slightly), mainly because of their depth.

That said, JR Smith, despite recent success versus the Celtics, should never underestimate the leprechaun and ghost of Red Auerbach come playoff time.

That's not a threat, that's a promise.

Follow Edward Babaian on Twitter: @bojixbabaian

Photo Credit: Sporting News; Cleveland.com