Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals is tonight. After being down 2 games to none, it looked like fate was sealed for the Celtics: the Cleveland Cavaliers were moving on to the Finals.
Not so fast– after losing Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the postseason, it seemed like the Celtics didn’t have a fighting chance in Game 3. They were down 73-54 during the second half of the 3rd quarter, that’s when the magical comeback started. The Celtics found a way to win it, 111-108, on a 3 by Avery Bradley with less than a second to go. The Cavs’ 13-0 playoff record is now just a memory.
Shutting Down Lebron
The Celtics held Lebron to 11 points, going 0-4 from beyond the arch. He didn’t score a single point in the final 16 minutes of the game. It was Lebron’s worst playoff performance since the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals when he was held to just 7 points.
After the game, radio host, Kenny Roda asked James whether it was the Celtics’ defense that hindered his scoring ability or if he just wasn’t feeling his shot. His reaction was this:
“I was just pretty poor,” James said. “What do you want me to say? It seems like you only ask questions when we lose. It’s a weird thing with you, Kenny, you always come around when we lose, I swear.”
Roda responded on Twitter:
For the record, been to 4 of 5 #Cavs home playoff games this year, home playoff games last year. Ask questions win or lose
— Kenny Roda (@TheKennyRoda) May 22, 2017
Say what you will about LBJ; call him the King, call him a whiner, call him a baby, call him the GOAT, the Cavs’ offense thrives off him. He is the glue guy. The odds of Lebron having another “bad” game are about the same as my odds of having a perfect season in fantasy football. I just don’t see it happening, at all.
A Fighting Chance
Do the Celtics even have a chance of making a comeback in this series? Let me give you a few scenarios: Did the Patriots come back after being down 28-9 in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl? Did the Cubs overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series? Or…Did the Cavaliers come back in the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to the Warriors? Anything is possible.
Right now, Marcus Smart is hitting his stride. Usually, when I think of Smart, I think of the flopper of the century. But during Game 3, he stepped up in a big way while filling in for Isaiah Thomas. He helped fuel the comeback by hitting 7 of 10 from beyond the arch, laying in 27 points, marking his career high. However, I don’t see Smart having enough magic on his own to give the Celtics a fighting chance. Honestly, I don’t know what the Celtics will need to have a fighting chance. I’m as surprised as anyone they were able to take down the Cavs in Game 3. To me, it looked as if both the Cavs and Warriors were going to sweep their respective series and we were going to see another Cavs/Warrors Final.
Cleveland Will Roll
Here’s how I see the remainder of the series playing out; the Cavs are going to roll. If I’m wrong, you can hunt me down on Twitter and give me a hard time for being wrong. I just don’t see the Celtics being able overcome Lebron, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and the finals experience they have.
Here’s my prediction: the Cavs will win it all in a thrilling Game 7.