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Old News: The Celtics are attempting to acquire Paul George and Gordon Hayward

As Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news today that the Celtics are trying to acquire both Gordon Hayward and Paul George and the NBA world lost their collective mind. People seemed to have forgotten that Adam Kaufman had reported this nearly a week ago.

Shout-out to Adam Kaufman for breaking this story a week ago. For all my other Celtics fanatics out there Kaufman is a guy who is definitely worth following for all the latest breaking rumors and trades.  Right now it is looking like the Celtics are offering a package that includes: 2018 Lakers pick, either the 2018 Grizzlies or 2019 Clippers first round pick, Jae Crowder, and filler to make salary numbers work. This deal is reportedly contingent on both the Celtics signing Gordon Hayward with Blake Griffin as a backup plan and Paul George being willing to sign a three-year extension.

If this move were to come to fruition it would mean that the Celtics roster would undergo a major shakeup, with fan favorites like Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Kelly Olynk likely not all returning for next season. An added bonus to this scenario is that it allows you to keep the Nets pick in a draft that is supposed to be stocked with quality big men. Adding a quality big man to build a future core with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, while also adding Paul George and Gordon Hayward would be an absolute coup for Danny.  All those analysts who have criticized Danny for not cashing his chips in sooner (cough Jemele Hill cough) might be eating their words pretty soon if Danny’s master plan works out the way it the way it is shaping up to.

Celtics bounce back from 21-point deficit to win Game 3

After a 44-point loss on their home floor Friday night the Boston Celtics had all odds against them heading to Cleveland for the next two games. After falling behind by as much as 21 points the Celtics found a way to come back. A 111-08 win in Cleveland puts the Celtics on the board as Cleveland now leads the series 2-1. Boston played their first game without All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who was announced out the rest of the series with a hip injury.

It was an Avery Bradley three-point shot bouncing in with .1 seconds left that would lift the Celtics over Cleveland Sunday night. The Celtics were lead by Marcus Smart who scored a career high 27 points on 8of-14 shooting. Boston shot 45-percent making 18-of-40 threes from the field. The three-point shooting would be the different as Smart hit on 7-of-10 from downtown. Jonas Jerebko connected on 2-of-4 threes and come up with a big three with 30 seconds left to put the Celtics up by two points.

Lebron James had a game to forget as the Cavalier All-Star finished with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and six turnovers. James failed to register points in the final 16 minutes of the game. Kevin Love finished with 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. He would lead all Cavaliers by making eight three-point attempts. Kyrie Irving would lead the Cavaliers in scoring with 29 points.

The Cavaliers saw a more improved Boston defense as jump shots were contested. The defensive effort translated to the offensive end for Boston who knocked down big shots in their comeback victory. The Celtics closed the 3rd quarter on a 26-10 run.

Game four is Tuesday night in Cleveland. Tip-off is at 8:30 EST on TNT.

Cavaliers deliver record setting win

It was 41 points that separated the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics in game two. The biggest Cavalier lead was 50 points midway in the third quarter. After game one LeBron James stated that the Cavaliers could be better, this was how much better the Cavaliers can be.

The Cavaliers shot 56-pecent from the field (48-percent from three) in the blow-out win Friday night. It was all The King leading the way for the Cavs as he finished the game with 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting, four rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Love finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds alongside Kyrie Irving who finished with 23 points. The big three of the Cavaliers would finish a combined 66-percent shooting from the field.

The defense of the Cavaliers flashed it’s dominance as the Celtics shot 37-percent from the field overall (29-percent from the field). The Celtics would also finish the game with 20 turnovers. In the first-half James chased down Avery Bradley on a fast break to block his shot similar to the infamous chase down block on Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals.

The down hill spiral continued for the Celtics as Isaiah Thomas did not return in the second half due to a hip injury. Celtics coach Brad Stevens stated that it was a preexisting injury that the All-Star guard had from Game 6 in their prior series against Washington. The injury was serious enough to keep Thomas from returning in the second-half and he will be reevaluated for game three.

Prior to Game 2, the NBA announced its finalists for the Player Award show in June. Among the MVP Finalists, James’ name as absent. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard took the top honors as finalists. When asked about this after the game James stated, “No, I didn’t see it and what are you going to do about it at the end of the day? My only job is to try to be the MVP for this team every night, put my teammates, put our franchise in position to be successful and ultimately compete for a championship. For me, I know what I bring to the table. This league knows what I bring to the table. That’s for you guys to write about. It’s not for me to be concerned about.”

The Cavaliers will head to Cleveland up 2-0 in the series. Game three is on Sunday night at 8:30 PM EST on TNT.

Celtics (1) vs Cavaliers (2)

The Eastern Conference Finals is set. The Boston Celtics will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night to kick-off the series after a long seven games series against the Washington Wizards.

Boston

Boston Celtics lead by 5’9 Isaiah Thomas had a tough route to get here. The sudden death of Thomas’ sister and a 0-2 deficit against Chicago Bulls the Celtics fought back and won four straight games to head into the Conference Semifinals. A match-up against the Washington Wizards and a John Wall game winning three-point shot forced a game seven. In that very same game seven the Celtics ran away late thanks to extra help from Kelly Olynyk. The Celtics have shown resilience to bounce-back from any challenge so far in the postseason.

Vegas has already written off the Celtics and most have agreed. Boston is ranked 25th in defensive rebounding this year. They will have to do a better job on the boards and avoid giving LeBron James extra possessions.

Al Horford is having a great playoffs so far and will have to continue to give Boston a chance in this series. Horford is averaging 16 points and seven rebound is this years playoffs. Horford’s ability to shoot the ball from the outside will be key for Boston. Having a center like Horford will force Cleveland to do a lot of switching especially when Boston decide to run pick-n-roll with Isaiah Thomas and Horford.

Boston Celtics have not played a team as deep as Cleveland. Boston was able to take advantage off the Wizards poor excuse for a bench. It will not be the same against Cleveland. Cleveland’s bench can produce and will produce with this long rest they had. If Boston will have to continue to have an efficient bench likewise in game seven against the Wizards. However, the expectation shouldn’t be for Kelly Olynyk to score 14 of 26 in the fourth quarter against the Cavaliers.

Marcus Smart in this playoffs is averaging 8.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4 assist. The former Oklahoma State star has had his impact on the first two series. From taking big charges late, getting offensive rebounds, and making big plays for others. Smart has done it all. Coming off the bench Smart’s ability to play both guards and defend both spots will be very important, although Smart is not a great outside shooter he is capable of hitting outside shots and he is not afraid of taking those big shots as well. He will be a bigger body to throw at Lebron James defensively. Smart’s role in slowing down James will be key for the Celtics.

Cleveland

Can you remember the last time Cleveland lost a game? I can’t either maybe sometime in the regular season. Cleveland was able to cruise through the first two-rounds going 8-0.

Tristan Thompson has played very well so far averaging 7.8 points and 10.6 rebounds. We know Thompson will give you the rebounding and the toughness. In this series Thompson will have his handful. Thompson has not played against bigs like Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk. Both Olynyk and Horford will give Thompson trouble because both of them can space the floor with their shooting, and both can put the ball on the floor well enough at their size. Thompson does not have the foot speed to keep up with them on the perimeter. The way Thompson wins this battle is having them work on the defensive end. Boston bigs all struggle to rebound if Thompson can put pressure by crashing the glass and getting Boston bigs in foul trouble early will help Cleveland.

Kevin Love has played very inconstant against Toronto in the second round. The close-out game against Toronto Love finished with just five points and six rebounds. Love is key to Cleveland’s success. Love has to get it going early against the likes of guarded Amir Johnson. Johnson not a bad defender but will struggle to keep Love in front of him because Johnson is not accustom to defending jump shooting bigs.

Isaiah Thomas has played extremely well in this playoffs. In order for Boston to win Thomas will have to keep his high level play going. Cleveland will have there hands full guarding the Seattle native. Thomas is a great offensive player and pretty good passer too. Thomas is still tiny. Thomas excels in pick-n-rolls because teams end up switching putting a big in front of Thomas, which Thomas usually blow by them. Thomas struggles on the defensive end when he’s switched on to a taller and more skilled player. Similar to what the Wizards did by forcing Thomas to switch on Bradley Beal, the Cavaliers may force Thomas to guard Irving.

Cleveland dominated the regular season series against Boston especially in the April 5th match-up in Boston where the Cavaliers lead by 29 points in that game. LeBron James will be seeking to win wrap this series up and head to his seventh straight NBA Finals. His dominance continues and as it seems he’s unstoppable unless its an injury (Please Basketball Gods don’t allow that to happen).

Final prediction? Too much King James for Boston to handle: Cleveland in 5.