Remember, Celtics helped pave way for LeBron James to return to Cleveland

LeBron James Terry Rozier

LeBron James Terry Rozier

Cavaliers' defenders can get twisted around on pick-and-rolls, and particularly dribble handoffs (which the Celtics run a lot of).

He was too busy trying to figure out how to avoid being buried under it. "Because none of the good ones are reachable".

"What is the one thing about LeBron, why did he go to Miami and come back to Cleveland?"

The Celtics, meanwhile, could have easily cashed in the chips after injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

It took a superhuman effort, but LeBron James has willed the patchwork Cavaliers into the NBA's Final Four. He hasn't lost to Boston in the postseason since scoring 45 points in Game 6 of the 2012 East Finals. Brad Stevens has led them to the playoffs for four straight seasons, beginning with a shocking 40-win campaign in 2014-15 where they faced -- you guessed it -- James in the first round. The honor went to Toronto's Dwane Casey, who was sacked Thursday after his team was swept in the East semifinals by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I think, in all honesty, people from the outside probably expected not much out of us", Horford said.

Against the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics had a real advantage: Players who could guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid one-on-one, forcing the stars to try to make plays in hard isolation sets against defenders who were up to the task. And so whether it is a jumpshot, whether it is a free throw, the inspiration to work is real in his head given the situation that we just left. But it is basketball. If the Cavaliers shoot like they did against the Raptors, there's not much that you can do, but if you force the Cavalier offense to through James and take away his passing lanes, you have a chance. The Cleveland Cavaliers once again ousted the Toronto Raptors from the playoffs. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart have played wonderfully with help from veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris.

Terry Rozier
GETTYTerry Rozier has come to the fore for Boston of late

Stevens agrees with that assessment and has remained true to his style by blending into the background in public, instead waiting for the huddle or practice to make his voice heard.

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.

"I think a lot of our guys have been thrown into the fire".

"I'm just glad he's on my team", Cavs guard J.R. Smith said. "But I think that one of the things that helps them is the way that coach helps them prepare and the way that he teaches them the game". If Boston goes with this system they will face a serious challenge because LeBron is both a high IQ player and a gifted passer.

The Boston Celtics just finished one of the most unlikely series of the playoffs. "No matter who has played for them, he can put guys in position to succeed and get the most out of whoever has been in their lineup over the past few years". "Despite all the circumstances of guys getting hurt with Kyrie out, with Gordon being out for the whole year, they just keep plugging guys in and keep playing".

Stevens said he's focused on living in the moment.

The "Big 3" Boston team featuring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen ousted him and the Cavs in 2008 and 2010, the latter series ending with James famously storming off the floor and pulling off his jersey to foreshadow his free-agent departure later that summer for South Beach. But they have attacked teams' mismatches with enthusiasm, and they are a defensive buzzsaw.

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