By: Tyler Noebe, GZ Sports Report Contributor
Isaiah Thomas, who has been an underdog his entire life, is continuing that mindset heading into his series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his press conference after game 7 Monday night, Thomas mentioned how everybody has counted them out, even with their number 1 seed in the east. He reflected on being down 2-0 to the Chicago Bulls, facing the same critics who are counting them out against the Cavaliers. To this, Thomas responded by saying, “Anything can happen” at this point in the playoffs.
Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers face a Celtic’s team who has given them a bit of trouble in the regular season, but I don’t anticipate that trouble to continue in the postseason. In fact, this may be a better matchup for the Cavaliers than the high powered Wizards team who are great on the fast break with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Here are some key factors and prediction for the upcoming Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Finals:
- Rest: The Boston Celtics are coming off of a grueling 7 game series against a fast paced Wizards team. Cleveland’s fresh legs after consecutive 4 game sweeps will be a great advantage.
- Stopping Isaiah Thomas: Isaiah Thomas has emerged as one of the league’s top players, but similar to 2007 Lebron and his Cavaliers team, he is not working with a lot around him. I look to see the Cavs match Shumpert and James on Thomas frequently, to force the ball to guys like Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk.
- Home Court: The Celtics have earned home court advantage, which the Cavs basically conceded at the end of the regular season in favor of resting their starters. While I do not see this being detrimental to the Cavs, I do see the Celtics picking up a game or two at home.
- The Big 3: Lebron, Kyrie, and Love will continue to be huge factors like they have been this whole postseason. I look to seem them consistently be in Cleveland’s top 3 scorers this series. Kevin Love in particular will make big plays in revenge of his 2015 shoulder injury at the hands of Kelly Olynyk.
Prediction: Cleveland wins in 5, splitting the first two games of the series 1-1 in Boston.