Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Celtics guard Terry Rozier embraces the odds that are stacked against Boston

Celtics guard Terry Rozier embraces the odds that are stacked against Boston

Getting there again would tie him with Boston's Frank Ramsey for the fourth-longest such streak in National Basketball Association history, and would leave him behind three other Celtics' standouts: Tom Heinsohn and Sam Jones with nine straight and Bill Russell with 10.

Of the 68 teams that have taken 1-0 series leads in the conference finals, 57 have gone on to make the NBA Finals. They are the favorites again, but this series is not going to be a sweep like the round before, the Celtics are disciplined and playing at a higher level than anyone the Cavs have seen this postseason. Those two should anchor Philly's run for the next decade, a Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant tandem of sorts that should make them playoff regulars until they are in their 30s. "We have a lot more bodies to take on that challenge". Tatum averaged 15 points in his first ever playoff series. That squad, of course, paired him with Kyrie Irving, but it also surrounded him with shooters.

Here are three things to watch in this series. Against the 76ers, Tatum averaged 24 points. He played 43 minutes despite battling leg cramps in Sunday's 105-101 win, and scored 45 points.

Expect more poised, productive play from this trio against Cleveland. With Simmons inability to shoot, Horford played 10-12 feet off of him and when Simmons did try some drives to the basket Horford and the Celtic wings did a good job of walling off the paint. He continues to be one of Bostons best threats from behind the arc. Throughout the postseason this year, he nearly has a triple-double average, as he averages 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and nine assists per game. IT did have six assists and three rebounds, though. After averaging almost a triple-double against the Miami Heat, Simmons numbers went down in almost all stat categories against the Celtics.

They can do anything to limit LeBron James and his teammates shoot like they did in the first round. Simmons doesn't have a good jump shot. He noted that James may prefer to see the team use that pick as trade bait for a more established player, as James is more concerned with remaining the top contender in the Eastern Conference than using a few years on developing a new player. However, he has a lot to improve on.

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. In his first playoff appearance, Embiid shot 28 percent from behind the arc.

Game 4: Monday, May 21, 8:30 p.m.

Embiid is a young player. The 20-year old Tatum has come of age.

The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the NBA's hottest teams going into the playoffs. The Cavs are looking to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season, and LeBron is on track for his eighth straight trip. I think Stevens figures out a way to limit James with his variety of multiple versatile defenders, or at least make him less efficient, and the Celtics beat the Cavaliers in seven games.

Both Brown and general manager Bryan Colangelo said that the Sixers are considering adding more personnel to their coaching and development staff, among whom could be shooting specialists who would augment current shooting coach John Townsend. It began with the big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett.

Check out the full TV schedule for the Eastern Conference Finals below.

Boston's depth is unmatched by any team. They have continued to do so through the postseason, as they now find themselves in a rematch of last year's Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That means home court advantage against the No. 4-seeded Cavaliers.

While Boston has not enjoyed a fraction of that success under Stevens with James walking off the victor in eight of nine playoff games, Rozier feels this year might be different.

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