Stop me if you've heard me before: LeBron James will be playing against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. The last time they were in that situation, the Celtics won the game - and, in a result that defied the Vegas odds in a huge way - won the series in five games against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics aren't going to be able to shake James' confidence. Now, facing off one another in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row with no Irving in the picture, this will be a much different series. The Cavs eliminated the Celtics in five games last season. But one ESPN reporter who follows James closely thinks there might be reason to think James stays in Cleveland no matter what happens in the postseason this year.
"The prototypical "LeBron stopper", if there was such a thing, the 6'9" Morris has fared better than most against James in the past and his defensive intensity could provide a major spark for the undermanned Celtics. It's still the same love, and the same respect, because you've been through so much to win that championship. "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". We gotta be mentally locked in and have a mindset to try and do the best we can.
There was a time not long ago when Marcus Smart was simply hoping to have the chance to play again this season. "We've just got to show bodies and show our energy and length".
Last year, it was Jae Crowder, now with the Utah Jazz, who was the primary defender against James with Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart taking some cracks at trying to slow him down. Jayson Tatum is averaging 18.8 points and 4.5 rebounds while Terry Rozier is averaging 18.2 points and 5.8 assists. "They understand, so it wasn't anything really".
With James averaging an astounding 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and nine assists with a 55.3 field goal percentage while carrying the Cavs through these playoffs, Morris will more than have his work cut out for him. "He's the best player in the game".
"More than his game, he's a great kid", James said.
"You dream about being able to play in big games in the National Basketball Association". But even if LeBron is Super Macho Man to the West's Mike Tyson, he still presents a formidable challenge.More news: Lewis Hamilton ends Sebastian Vettel's pole run at Spainish Grand Prix
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"We got a lot of heart and a lot of talent on this team, nobody expected us to get this far", said Tatum. Against a guy like LeBron, it's the team.
"I think he's probably broken Toronto".
Irving, out for the season after having two procedures on his left knee, is offering insight into James and the Cavaliers after spending the first six years of his career in Cleveland, three with James.
The Celtics are without their two marquee signings this season Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward through injury but have an outstanding coach in Brad Stevens and momentum after knocking out an up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers unit. "I'm sure he'll talk to our players individually". James is going to make plays, and he's going to score (a lot) against 1-on-1 matchups.
This team isn't going down with a fight.
Forget about stopping LeBron James.
"So we'll just continue to prove people wrong and have fun while we're doing it". However, someone should tell Marcus Morris about making comments about LeBron.
"I think it's really meaningful but he's good at focusing what he can control and there's nothing he can do about missing it", said Stevens. "We'll look at all those things ... and let you know".