Not to mention, the Cavs won 3 of 4 against the Celtics, and gave up an average 116 points to Lebron, Kyrie, and company. The defending champion C. James averaged 29.3 points, 9.8 assists and 9.5 rebounds vs. Boston.
Beyond that, hardly anyone is picking them to seriously challenge the fresh-legged Cavs, let alone keep LeBron James from making his seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
But Washington turned things around, thriving at times under Brooks and finishing with 49 wins, and its guard tandem could smile Tuesday while discussing the perceived rift between them. It could be argued that wins in Games 6 and 7 of that series against Boston were the turning point for James' career. They will be focusing on the Eastern Conference Finals. The top-seeded Celtics are seeking an 18th NBA championship, and first since beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston would show how valuable home court advantage is in the playoffs by advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals by only win winning their four home games.
What should surprise you is my first takeaway from Game 7. And each team had won two blowouts and survived one tight game in the six contests leading up to Game 7.
There's really nothing either team has done in the post-season that would suggest this won't just be a speed bump on Cleveland's inexorable march to another appearance in the National Basketball Association final. If they can't win both games 1 and 2, they won't last long against the defending champs. They didn't give us a chance when we were down 2-0 to Chicago. If they make it to the NBA Finals, they will have surpassed every expectation and then some. "They don't ever give us a chance, and we just keep going; we don't care about what others say", Isaiah Thomas told the media.
While the fans chanting "We want Cleveland!" might seem excessive, to those who say, "Be careful what you wish for", I'll disagree. Olynyk then did what looked like the same thing to Robin Lopez - and was then involved in an incident in the Wizards series.
Boston's mettle has been tested.
Cleveland's approach has seen defenders fly around much more than in the regular season, but they still yielded 40.5 uncontested field goals per game in the playoffs, including 20.5 from beyond the arc.
Dating back to the 2015 playoffs, James and the Cavs are a staggering 32-4 against the Eastern Conference. Crowder is expected to be the primary. Something to watch is the Olynyk-Love matchup as Olynyk dislocated Love's shoulder two years ago. Perhaps they can take heart from the Celtics, who took current star point guard Isaiah Thomas with the 60th and final pick of the 2011 draft.
Great players refuse to consider the obvious and what's obvious is James is playing basketball at the moment not as if he's mastered it.
But, also, we have to mention that this happened after Rajon Rondo got injured.
However this postseason ends for Boston, it looks like just the beginning for the group.
After struggling early against the Bulls, the Celtics averaged 3.5 more points per 100 possessions in the conference semifinals, the biggest increase among the eight teams that advanced. Love how he competes, he's really made strides being a good leader, and to me a good leader is not only talking about leadership, but it's doing it and showing with your action.
On the negative side, the Celtics have grabbed a playoff-low 45.7 percent of all available rebounds, so a guy like Cleveland's Tristan Thompson could have a huge series on the offensive boards. "We're lucky to move on". The Celtics will try to take advantage of this and walk away with a hard-fought Game 1 victory. That guy is a true victor, plays with a lot of toughness, he's exactly what you need to lead your team.
The Celtics, which own the Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick this year and next, have an opportunity to add a franchise player or two very soon. And we just use it as motivation.