Last night the Celtics lost a great game in Cleveland to the Cavaliers 124-118. Oh well, the Cs lost a tight game against the best team in the East in the regular season. Luckily, we learned a lot from this game.
So, what did we learn?
The Cavaliers care a lot about regular season games, apparently. In this game, the Celtics used 11 men and no one played more than 34 minutes. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, only played 9 men (including Mike Dunleavy who only played 3 minutes), LeBron played 44 out of 48 minutes, and Kyrie played 42 despite being hobbled at times. For a regular season game in which not much is on the line, the Cavs really played their top guys too much, risking injury and fatiguing them.
The Cavaliers have no answer for IT. Despite that Isaiah Thomas had a -10 +/- in last night’s game, it was clear to anyone watching that the Cavs had no way of stopping IT from scoring, or even of exploiting his defensive shortcomings (pun not intended). It was an incredibly efficient game for Thomas, who went 8 of 13 from the field for a cool 31 points. No one on the Cavaliers seemed capable of guarding him, whether it be Kyrie, Shump, or Liggins no one could take care of it. The only one who showed some semblance of good defense against him was LeBron, but that lead to mismatches on other parts of the court. Come playoff time, look for the Cs to have IT take advantage.
These two teams do not like each other. I don’t know if it’s because Bostonians hate LeBron, because the Cavaliers are the defending champs, or something else, but the Celtics clearly do not like the Cavs and vice versa. This became very evident after Marcus Smart fouled LeBron, who was backing him down, and then had some choice words for The King. For a brief moment it looked like a small fight could start, but everyone calmed quickly.
The Celtics are still a level below the Cavs. Yes, the Celtics can make games interesting against the Cleveland LeBrons, but they still aren’t on the same level. The Cavaliers have two guys in Kyrie and LeBron who are better than anyone on the Celtics. Until the Celtics are able to get a legitimate superstar, it will be very difficult for the Celtics to unseat the kings.
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