Celtics to Clash with Cavaliers in Eastern Conference Final

Posted May 17, 2017 by Ross Wyszomierski in Sports
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Four more wins; that all that separates the Celtics from advancing to the NBA Finals and the only thing standing in their way? The mighty Cleveland Cavaliers.

After a challenging journey through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Celtics will face their toughest obstacle and one they figured would be on the other end of that court all along in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Boston started their journey with a scary beginning to the series against the Chicago Bulls when the Celtics went down 0-2. The series left a little to be desired after current Bull and former Boston star Rajon Rondo was sidelined with an injury and was unable to play the rest of the series. The C’s rattled off four wins a row over the Bulls and advanced to the next round.

Boston’s next opponent was the Washington Wizards; a team that was all-around better than Chicago and one that many experts thought could give the Cavaliers the toughest time if the two teams had met. This series would go the distance and take seven games to decide who advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. One thing in particular that happened in this series that should put a smile on the faces of Celtics’ fans is that every home team won their matchup.

I don’t need to tell you that Boston has secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and that having game seven at the Garden definitely had something of an impact in the outcome and the Celtics’ eventual victory. Most will tell you that the home-court advantage won’t matter in this series and that the Cavaliers will eventually advance to the Finals, but Cleveland will for the first time this year have to play the first two games of a series in a building not named “The Q.” The Cavs have also had quite a long time to rest before this series. After their second consecutive series sweep in the playoffs this year, the Cavs had a 10-day break before stepping on the court in Boston Wednesday night. One could look at that situation and say that Cleveland has had plenty of time to rest and prepare for the Celtics, or one could say the long hiatus might provide a slow and sluggish start to their first game. On the flipside of this, the Celtics will have tried to get as much rest as they can during their brief time off after their lengthy series and be ready for anything the Cavs can throw at them.

There aren’t too many secrets as to how the Celtics can win this series: making three-point shots, doing their job on the glass, or maybe fouling LeBron James if he shows he’s struggling at the free-throw line. But something happened in game seven against the Wizards that could go a long way in extending the series against the Cavs. Sure, Isaiah Thomas was a force to be reckoned with on the court, just like he is almost every night; one could even say he looked like Batman out there, but in game seven … Batman finally had his Robin.

Kelly Olynyk came off of the bench and had a playoff career-high 26 points in game seven, with 12 of those points coming in a three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter. Celtics fans will tell you this was one of the first times they’ve seen this type of performance out of Olynyk. The results don’t lie when Isaiah has someone to shoulder the load with him. It’s going to take an Olynyk-type performance from someone on the C’s each night to really keep them in the game. Boston, and Thomas, needs a Robin.

Enjoy this series Boston fans. It’s going to be a true litmus test of how the Celtics stack up with the elite of the NBA. Oh, and don’t forget; Boston just won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night and have the number-one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. So there’s that to smile about too.

Below is a schedule for all game of the Eastern Conference Finals:

GAME DATE MATCHUP (TIMES ET)
Game 1 Wed., 5/17 CLE @ BOS (8:30 p.m.)
Game 2 Fri., 5/19 CLE @ BOS (8:30 p.m.)
Game 3 Sun., 5/21 BOS @ CLE (8:30 p.m.)
Game 4 Tue., 5/23 BOS @ CLE (8:30 p.m.)
Game 5 Thu., 5/25 CLE @ BOS (8:30 p.m.)*
Game 6 Sat., 5/27 BOS @ CLE (8:30 p.m.)*
Game 7 Mon., 5/29 CLE @ BOS (8:30 p.m.)*
*If necessary