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Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: On LeBron James' fadeaway, Boston Celtics' resurgence - Bill Livingston

13 May 2018

Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris said Saturday the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is the only player more capable of defending Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James than himself.

During the 2014 NBA Finals, LeBron James averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and four assists while shooting 57 percent from the field, according to Basketball Reference.

The Celtics however could potentially end LeBron's reign in Cleveland for a second time. "Marcus is big, strong, competitive guy, but you have to guard LeBron as a team". "So they really wanted me here, and not only because of that, just the toughness and things like that".

And this only scratches the surface of guarding the impending hall of famer who sent them home from the conference finals previous year. He's averaging more than 30 points per game against 'em in the playoffs, and has beaten them the last six times in Boston. In typical LeBron fashion, he completely defied the naysayers by playing just as well this series as the last. "It's a sports town, you look at the Patriots, you look at the Bruins, you look at the Red Sox". One, a rematch from last season, the other, a matchup that's been anticipated all season long, both series look to have some great basketball ahead of them. It's just a sports town. Although the C's surely would love to keep Smart in town for years to come, it's starting to seem like they'll face stiff competition in order to do so.

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Well, at least the Boston Celtics never had a player throw some soup at a coach this season. I'm 6-9, 240. I think that's the flawless size to guard a guy like that who's probably like 6-9, 260.

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Only Bill Russell (10), Sam Jones (9), Tommy Heinsohn (9) and Frank Ramsey (8) have played in more consecutive Finals than James, who said he hasn't reflected on the possibility of admission to their group. "But just with me, Al (Horford), Terry, Jaylen, we've been here from that team from a year ago, just kind of letting guys know it's not going to be easy".

In most cases, betting markets remained bearish on the Celtics despite everything that was transpiring on the court, where Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Co. were making fans temporarily forget about Kyrie Irving, who's out for the postseason following knee surgery.

A lot of people are saying, 'How can they succeed like this without Gordon Hayward?' I've heard that.

They won't know who won until June 25 - after the season. He's not even been on the team ...

In 2013 the Bulls, without an injured Rose, met the Heat in the conference semi final and lost 4-1, with Nate Robinson and a young Jimmy Butler helping the Bulls poach 1 game in Miami. I get it with the Kyrie thing. The Celtics are better equipped to try and slow down James than the Raptors, but you can not expect anyone to actually be capable of doing it.

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James wouldn't narrow down who the Celtics' "head of the snake" is. Anyway, I'll say it again: Ty Lue is underrated as a coach. They wouldn't be here if he hadn't gotten some help.

The Celtics know what's about to hit them. He's known Tatum for years; the rookie's godfather is James' former teammate, Larry Hughes, and is also a cousin of Tyronn Lue. Look for the Celtics to earn a hard-fought win in Game 1 and send an early statement.

"He was a confident kid then when I watched him at Shaker". I'm ready to go out there and play. And I think that that's really important.

James is a mentor of Simmons and their friendship could be a factor in the Cleveland star's defection to Philly.

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Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: On LeBron James' fadeaway, Boston Celtics' resurgence - Bill Livingston