Celtics Practice Report: Preparing for Game 1

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Otherwise, both of the teams playing in the Eastern Conference finals had a pretty wild ride in getting to this point.

Philadelphia, which snapped a five-year playoff drought this season, was denied its first trip to the conference finals since going to the NBA Finals in the 2000-01 season.

"I'm definitely not a one-man army", James told reporters Friday, in response to a question about him being responsible for Casey's firing. And yet, here the Celtics still stand. So we can talk from like potential, but he's been out since the first quarter of Game 1 in Cleveland.

But these Celtics are used to using doubt to fuel them. They're related on Lue's grandfather's side of the family.

"They've got a couple", he said. However, Baynes' 3-pointer with 56 seconds to play sparked an 8-0 Boston run to end the half.

Since then, he's 8-1 against the Celtics with a four-game sweep in 2015 and a five-game dusting a year ago in the conference finals.

"If you simply look at the measurables, Marcus Morris (6' 9" and 235 pounds) is probably the Celtics' best matchup for LeBron.

Smart didn't play again until the playoffs.

Meanwhile, James isn't buying into the chatter about how his squad will overwhelm the Celtics.

The Cavs, when asked about it this week, don't view the Celtics' success this season as an accident.

But with Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown all moving up quickly on the growth chart because of the opportunities created by season-ending injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, the Celtics have actually improved since the Milwaukee series.

Not that there's much intrigue between these two teams, but the Celtics do have the flawless intelligence officer for all things Cleveland in Kyrie Irving.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Overblown? The league's best player should be at his best Sunday afternoon.

"A lot of people are saying, 'How can they succeed like this without Gordon Hayward?' I've heard that", James said. "As everyone was burying my teammates alive throughout that first-round series [against Indiana], I was just telling them, 'Listen, we can't win without each and everyone doing their job and being as great as they can be.' I continue to preach that".

However, things are a lot different on the court for the four-time MVP victor when he is marked by one certain Celtics star, and it will be interesting to see if Boston's head coach Brad Stevens utilizes him in this way. I think Stevens figures out a way to limit James with his variety of multiple versatile defenders, or at least make him less efficient, and the Celtics beat the Cavaliers in seven games.

Boston scored six straight to go up 100-94 on Rozier's finger roll with 5:27 left.

It is actually a return bout between the two for this year's 2018 Eastern Conference trophy, with Cleveland prevailing last year before relinquishing its crown to Golden State in the NBA Finals via a 4-1 rout. He also averaged 40 percent shooting from the field.

Rookie Daniel Theis, a bench contributor all season, suffered a torn meniscus on March 11 (a really, really bad day for Boston). LeBron is going to have to carry an even bigger load this series. After spending time with the Celtics in Philadelphia, I really want to pick them. He's not gonna make every insane play every time down. We've been through a lot. LeBron has played an insane amount of minutes for a player in his 15th season, and the reason he can sustain playing at a high level is by conserving energy while he is still playing in the game.

The Cavs, well, they're fully healthy. They also have a fresh textbook on the subject. He battled his way to the basket but missed his shot.

Isaiah Thomas (remember him?) didn't play until January. Out of those five, only rebounds was where he didn't lead the team.

Derrick Rose was one of them.

Not mentioned here: Khloe Kardashian, Arthur memes, and LeBron-to-the-Warriors nonsense. [Simmons] came up to me, showed me his hands, and said there's going to be a lot of rings. "I just have to keep guys on track and hold guys accountable". "And hopefully we keep playing well".

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