After 10 days off, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers are back in action against the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Below are our staff’s predictions for the upcoming series.
Cavs in five
The Cavaliers no doubt have the upper hand in this series coming off more than a weeks rest and sweeping both Indiana and Toronto. The Celtics are coming off a seven game series that just ended two days prior to the Eastern Conference Final beginning, which could lead to them being tired. The Cavs are going to have to play tight defense on Isaiah Thomas, who led the Celtics through the season with 28 points per-game on average. The Cavs though have the big three and some additions to the lineup this year, which have proven to better the team as a whole.
Cavs in six.
Keys to the series — Cavs bench needs to be great. If the starters play their normal selfs, How key is a bench? Boston’s bench outscored Washington bench, 48-5 in game seven. But, it was kind of expected given that Washington has no bench. Korver is the X-Factor for the Cavs, if he can get it going like last series and shoot lights out, Boston will be in big trouble.X-Factor for Boston is Avery Bradley. He’s been to the ECF before and was playing against LeBron James and the Heat in 2012. Bradley is the only remaining Celtic player from that team. If IT and Bradley have it going, Boston can be unstoppable. Cavs can not allow for Bradley to have a big first half. Still, Cavs in six.
Cavs sweep the Celtics
The Cavs have had 10 days of rest while the Celtics just went through a grueling seven game series with the Washington Wizards. I feel like LeBron James will have his way this entire series as the Celtics don’t really have anyone to that poses a threat to James. The key for the Cavs to sweep this series, as I am predicting, is to contain Isaiah Thomas on the offensive end and make the Celtics other players beat you. I expect the Cavs to double Thomas often and make life difficult for him. For Boston to have any chance in this series, Avery Bradley and Al Horford will have to help out Thomas on the offensive end. If that doesn’t happen, Boston does not stand a chance.
I am expecting LeBron and Kyrie Irving to continue to play well against the Celtics, but for this series to be a sweep guards such as J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert will need to step up on both the offensive and defensive end. They will be the primary defenders on Thomas and will need to help out on the offensive end. With Boston double and even triple teaming LeBron, there will be plenty of open shots for Smith and Shumpert to knock down. With all that being said, I don’t expect this series to go long and the Cavs will come out right from the jump and handle the Celtics in every aspect of the game.