Saturday, 22 September, 2018


What We Learned From The First Games Of The NBA Conference Finals

What We Learned From The First Games Of The NBA Conference Finals What We Learned From The First Games Of The NBA Conference Finals
Noah Ferguson | 16 May, 2018, 09:17

Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love (0) reacts with frustration during the third quarter of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, May 13, 2018, in Boston. As a team, the Cavs finished the game with three blocked shots - two of them by LeBron James and one by Kyle Korver.

Aron Baynes is flourishing as one of the old hands on a Boston Celtics squad full of young guns. In the following six Game 2s, he upped his shooting percentage to 41.2 percent. He also had 7 turnovers in Game 1, after averaging 3.7 turnovers per game in the opening round and 2.0 turnovers per game in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Unless something changes the momentum of this series, the Celtics should go ahead 2-0.

"I expect him to have a big response", Kevin Love said. Even before he came back to Cleveland and since I've been here he's always responded big. I imagine it'll be a lot like Game 2 against Indiana.

Listen to James after Game One: "I have zero level of concern at this stage. I've been down before in the postseason".

Love said Monday he thought the Cavs "were a little soft" in the first half defensively, letting the Celtics get open looks and a good feel for the game early. He dominated in Cleveland's Game 2 win, dropping 46 points on 17-for-24 shooting. The Cavs won the series in seven.

It's a bit ironic LeBron James must set out to destroy the Celtics if he wants to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season - after all, in many ways, he helped create them.

Lue said numbers showed that in the last three years, out of all the players that have guarded Horford over at least 30 possessions, Thompson is No. 1 in the league defending him. [We've got] our job to do as other players. That was when the Cavs called a "timeout", as James recalled, and he used the pause to signal the end of his narrative, at which point his performance was met with some amused applause.

And Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows that it will take a continued team effort to limit James' influence in this series if Boston hope to advance to the Finals for the first time in eight years. Lebron was held to 15 points on 5-16 shooting, failed to make a shot beyond the arc, and had seven turnovers on the way to a Celtics drubbing over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-83. He is confident that the Celtics will continue to do well against James in Game 2 as they have a great strategy. After averaging 22.5 dimes a game in the regular season and 21.6 during the playoffs, Boston dished out 27 assists in the Game 1 rout. He no longer wanted to play alongside James, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst , making it clear he'd like to be the focal point of a team's offense.

The four-time NBA MVP did have a momentary lapse in memory by initially referring to teammate Jordan Clarkson as NBA journeyman Jordan Crawford, but he quickly corrected himself while noting that Clarkson missed a shot.

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