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The Bully and The Beast

2108 ECF matchup: Cavs - Celtics — by Anthony Edwards
2108 ECF matchup: Cavs - Celtics — by Anthony Edwards

The Celtics-Cavs series hasn’t let us down thus far. But this is not about team vs. team; it’s about a team vs. one man. The Celtics (the Beast) has surprised and surpassed the basketball world predictions. They’ve surprised all of us, first, by the obvious. When Gordon Haywood went down with the horrific ankle/foot fracture within five minutes of the first game of the 2017 season, coincidentally against the Cavs; all eyes turned to Kyrie Irving.

This was the moment that Kyrie relished, being the go-to-guy. As the season went on, the Celts, along with the Raptors, proved that there was another team other than the Cleveland Cavaliers in the east. While the sports world was fixated on the soap drama called: “As the Cavs turn”, Kyrie was spectacular, even being in the early conversation for M.V.P and the Celts quietly kept winning games.

Then in April, the C’s were dealt another big blow, Kyrie needed yet another knee surgery; he would be inactive for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. The sports world (including myself), started to write Boston’s obituary; I honestly thought that they would be a 6th or 7th seed. But to everyone’s surprise, led by the leadership of crafty veteran, Al Horford, the hustle and intense play of Marcus Smart, along with the emergence of Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, Boston managed to remain as the number two seed. During the playoffs, they have been the real beast of the east

The bully (non-pejoratively), LeBron James, is in a total different world. His world consisted of the trading of his best running-mate, Irving, in turn, getting another potential great running-mate in Isaiah Thomas. Team LeBron saw a slew of players come in, making them the oldest team in the league, and then watch a slew of them depart. The Cavs tumultuously captured the third seed and the attention was dubious, the Raptors were number one and it was a possibility that this would finally be the year that Toronto dispels ~the Cavs,~ LeBron. In the first round, the Pacers gave the Cavs a run for their money.

The second round against the Toronto Raptors showed what LeBron chose to be in that series, a BULLY (non-pejoratively). Game 1, the Raptors let the Cavs come back into the game and LeBron took over in overtime. I’ll just save you the details and tell how the whole series went. LeBron jogged to the basket. LeBron walked to the basket. He drove hard to the basket whenever he wanted. Team LeBron did whatever he wanted to do against whomever former Raptors coach, Dwayne Casey, placed in front of him. Team LeBron got Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas in foul trouble. Og Anunoby tried what he could, but was futile, here’s how game 3 ended to refresh your memory:

So during the series, Team LeBron averaged over 28 ppg, along with one triple-double. Therefore, I call that bullying.

Now the Cavs battle Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 1, the Celtics made it very difficult for LeBron every time he had the ball, making the supporting cast try to beat them, mission accomplished, the supporting cast failed. In game 2, Boston came out in a fury from the 1st quarter to the 4th led by: Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown (in spurts), and Marcus Smart, there was even an Aron Bynes sighting. Team LeBron did what he could while the supporting cast just seemed like they couldn’t hit any shots. Cavs guard J.R. Smith said: “We have to ramp it up. We're playing too slow. We're making Bron play hero ball, which is tough to do, especially in the Eastern Conference finals. We got to help him.” Unfortunately, it’s taken Smith 13 games into the postseason to realize that.

The beast has prepared to take on the bully for the first two games. The question is, what will happen to the beast if the bully hits back hard in game 3?