Celtics down 76ers in season-ending playoff

Fantasy Basketball Breaking News

Fantasy Basketball Breaking News

LeBron James is still the best player in the series, and he might be better than he's ever been. "Obviously, you know what I've said about Brad Stevens before and his ability to get the most out of his guys, how great they are out of timeouts, late-clock situations as well, no matter who is on the floor or no matter who has played for them. Marcus is big, strong, competitive guy, but you have to guard LeBron as a team".

"You want to sort of start the season being reminded what the playoffs showed", Browns aid, "and it's hard for Ben to play in an environment the Celtics guarded him, and find ways to impact the game as much as he can without the thing that we're talking about". James is averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 11 games in these playoffs, which has included him making two buzzer-beaters, scoring 45 points in Game 7 to oust in and dispatching Toronto with shocking ease. At different points, Terry Rozier, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have all assumed more offensive responsibility than was expected preseason and each has elevated their games in different ways.

"He's out there doing whatever he wants", Rozier said. In the first round, Celtics fans taunted Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe with chants of "Who Is Bledsoe?" after he unwisely made a comment about Celtics playoff phenom Terry Rozier. "There's only so much you can do".

Added Rozier: "We understand he's gonna make some insane plays". When Morris did defend LeBron, he often let No. 23 get behind him easily on drives to the basket, which was uncharacteristic of his time in Detroit. Love and Korver's corner action is not going to flummox Horford like it did JV and the Raptors, he will sniff it out and make plays. "We know it will be quite a challenge".

Said Brown: "Definitely not a one-on-one thing, it's definitely going to be a team thing".

There are a couple of other obvious differences in this meeting with Cleveland than past years.

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Now that the traffic has cleared, the National Basketball Association playoffs feature four heavyweight teams ready to slug it out.

If both series end in sweeps - unlikely, of course, but possible - the Boston-Cleveland victor would have 10 days off before The Finals and the Houston-Golden State victor would have nine.

"At some point, when the time is right, I think we need help to win a championship. What better way than to go up and compete against a guy that's got statues and things like that". All year, you fight to be No. 1 for that homecourt advantage, and you kind of use that to your advantage.

Irving's behind-the-scenes role is about to expand. "I'm sure he'll speak to all of our players individually - we've all played against Cleveland now a bunch, in the postseason, too - the last couple of years".

Among the most remarkable elements of their playoff run is that their offense has actually been better in the postseason, scoring an additional 1.7 points per 100 possessions, against the 17th (Bucks) and third-best (76ers) regular season defenses. Elevating his game during his second season, Brown was the leading scorer before a hamstring injury slowed him down. He continues to be one of Bostons best threats from behind the arc. "But certainly, we'll pick Kyrie's brain on guys like him and everyone else around him". Despite missing two of their star players, the Celtics made quick work of a fully healthy 76ers team.

I would expect Mbah A Moute to get a lot of playing time off the bench against Kevin Durant as well. "Truly. We would figure stuff out", Brown says. "It was kind of weird, because my body was reteaching itself how to run". And yet here we are now, with arguably the league's best coach and the league's best player going head-to-head.

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