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The Eastern Conference Finals are set. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics are scheduled to face each other in the Conference Finals.
The Cavs finished their second round series on Monday. They beat the Toronto Raptors 128-93.
The Cavalier starters all scored in double figures. They combined for 95 points and shot 75 percent as a unit. LeBron James led the Cavs with 29 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. This is will be LeBron's 24th straight Eastern Conference Finals. It will also be his 24th straight win if the Cavs win.
The Cavs ended the Raptors' season for the third straight time. It is also their second consecutive sweep of the Raptors. This season marks the fourth Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers' sweep of the Raptors was a surprise. The Raptors were the higher seed, and had the home court advantage over the Cavaliers. But, the Cavs won both games in Toronto and ultimately won the series. In their second round, the Celtics did not sweep the Sixers, but they came close.
On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics finished their second round series. They beat the 76ers in a close game. That game came down to the wire. This game consisted of costly errors for both the Sixers and Celtics, but the Celtics prevailed.
The Celtics beat the Sixers 114-112. With nearly two seconds left, Marcus Smart went to the free-throw line. If he made both free-throws, the Celtics would have had a three point lead. Smart stepped to the free-throw line and missed the first. After he missed the first, Smart tried to intentionally miss the second. He wanted the Sixers to gain possession and try to go the length of the court for a risky shot. Or, another Celtic player could have gotten the rebound and tried to run out the clock. But he made the second free-throw.
Then, the Sixers attempted to inbound the ball. Ben Simmons threw a pass the length of the court, but it was deflected. Marcus Smart made up for his mistake at the free-throw line. The Celtics won this game, and finished their series 4-1.
The Cavs and Celtics series has a bit of history. Last year, the Cavaliers met the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs beat the Celtics 4-1.
Another interesting aspect is the Cavs and Celtics in the off-season. In the off-season, the Celtics and Cavs completed a trade. The Cavs traded Kyrie Irving after chemistry issues within the team. They traded Irving in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 1st-round pick. Thomas was recovering from a hip injury and missed the first half of the season. He played for the Cavs towards the second half of the season. However, he was traded to the Lakers at the trade deadline. Thomas was one of several players the Cavs traded at the deadline. The moves the Cavs made at the deadline paved the way for the current Cavs roster we see now.
The Cavs started their regular season against the Celtics. Their regular season game against the Celtics was meant to be Kyrie Irving's first game back in Cleveland. The "storyline" of that game was overshadowed by Gordon Hayward's horrific injury. Due to injuries, the Celtics are without their two star players. The Celtics still managed to make the Conference Finals.
Both teams had a seven game series in their first round. The Cavs had one against the Pacers, and the Celtics had one against the Bucks. Despite troubles in the first round, both teams had easier second rounds.
LeBron James also has history with the Celtics. He has played the Celtics 34 times in the playoffs. He is also averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, nine assists, 1.5 steals, one block and shooting 55.3 percent from the field. The young Celtics will have a tough match-up on their hands with James.
The Cavs and Celtic match-up is potentially an interesting one. The Celtics are an extremely young team. Aron Baynes is the oldest Celtic. He is 31 years old. Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris, who are both 28, are tied for second oldest. The other Celtics players' ages range from 20-26. The Cavs are an older team, but some of the Cavaliers have more playoff experience. LeBron James, Kevin Love, and J.R Smith, to name a few. Younger players like Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson don't have playoff experience, but Cavalier players do.
The series begins on Sunday. It will start in Boston as the Celtics are the higher seed. The Celtics are undefeated at home, despite a few close calls. If any team could beat them at home, it is the Cavs.
This is a series that could go seven games. But, if I had to be more accurate, I would say the Cavs in six.