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National Basketball Association playoffs: Conference finals predictions for Warriors vs. Rockets, Cavs vs. Celtics

14 May, 2018, 00:31 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • Brian Babineau  NBAE via Getty Images

The Cavaliers were 13-8 ATS with 11 unders, nine overs and one push in the First-Round Series.

Not only has George Hill been fantastic, but Kevin Love has finally arrived.

So while the Celtics have youth, athleticism, coaching and even home-court working in their favour, James is more than capable of mitigating all of that. And in his past six games on Boston's parquet, he's averaging 34.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. He had trouble holding his position near the rim in the low post.

Marcus Smart got the other starts against the Sixers and produced with his usual blend of aggressiveness and productivity - notching double-figures in three of the five games in the series while keeping a lid on J.J. Redick over the final three games of the Semis. It was a mess.

Smith went scoreless in Game 3 of the Toronto series and still managed to average 12.5 points per in the four-game sweep. Part of it was the coaching staff using some plays where Love received the ball on the move. Cleveland also shot over 41 percent on 3-pointers after shooting just over 32 percent against Indiana. He began to fake his jumper, then drive around the defender and find some surprisingly easy layups at the rim.4.

The shakeup sort of helped, but let's also remember the new-look Cavs were almost eliminated in the first round by Indiana.

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"When I first got here, I wasn't sure why, or where I was going to fit", Morris said, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. "Obviously guys been going down all year and it's like you never know who's going to down".

"I spent a lot of time with him (Thursday)", said Coach Brad Stevens of Irving. The 6-foot-2 guard is the latest example of a breakout player drafted outside of the lottery by Celtics general manager Danny Ainge.

Morris could be tasked with defending James more than any other Boston player, although the Celtics have hinted they will send a variety of bodies James' way. There is little reason to believe that Cleveland can make that numbers game work, but James has been to seven consecutive N.B.A. finals. And get this - Tatum's father and Lue's father have a close friend: Larry Hughes.

The Warriors, with triple-threat Stephen Curry healthy again, seem secure thus far in their title-retention run, although they face a much-improved, James Harden-powered Houston squad in the Western Conference Finals. Tatum is only 20. "And hopefully we keep playing well".

The Celtics barely escaped the Philadelphia 76ers in their last game, 114-112.

Terry Rozier has been a revelation and Aron Baynes has been a solid stop-gap in the middle. The former Shaker Heights Raider has been starting at point guard for the injured Kyrie Irving. He averaged 27.5 points, the most since the 2009-10 season, with a career-best 9.1 assists. The King - who's piled up four 40-point games, eight double-doubles and two triple-doubles so far - has led Cleveland in both scoring and assists in an NBA-record 12 straight Playoff games dating back to past year. The Cavs have traded away numerous role players and the Celtics have sustained many key injuries. "You're just focused on what's next". Don't worry about who's guarding who. Coincidentally, they set their historic Finals clash with ultimate rival Los Angeles Lakers by defeating James and the Cavaliers in the East finals that year.

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