Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: How gritty Celtics can win the East

Rockets have last best chance to put stop to Warriors dynasty

Cleveland won last year's Eastern Conference Finals by a count of 4-1. The Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers in the first two rounds, but both of those teams are green.

"Cavaliers Edition" rejuvenated LeBron James and the rest of Cleveland, which won 50 regular-season games and advanced to its fourth consecutive appearance in the conference finals with a sweep of the top-seeded Toronto Raptors, a franchise James has tormented in his return to the Cavs.

That's likely what the Celtics are banking on, even if they aren't eager to foist the responsibility of guarding James exclusively onto Morris.

"Physically, he is more superior than any guy that is on the floor". "[He is] 250-plus pounds, can run like a gazelle - physically he's just unstoppable". Athletic. He's physical. He's just unstoppable. LeBron is top three, top five of all-time. He's going to do what he does.

He said: "Personally, I think I'm probably the best guy defending him in the league, outside of Kawhi [Leonard]".

Since Celtics coach Brad Stevens' first playoff team was swept by Cleveland in the first round in 2015, the list is deep of defenders assigned to James: Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace, Jaylen Brown and Horford.

"I'm a little older, a little more experienced", Morris says. It was a steal when they drafted him out of Louisville, and hes just showcasing his abilities. He missed Game 1 of the second round, and he has slowly recovered to full strength from there. So we can talk from like potential, but he's been out since the first quarter of Game 1 in Cleveland. But what does look so familiar is Cleveland and Boston once again sharing center stage, a place they've occupied together for an entire year.

But Lue uses the regular season as a canvas to paint his playoff picture.

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"Scary" Terry [Rozier] has played great for them.

That being said, all four teams have spots they'll have to address, whether it be on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side, or both.

And speaking to reporters ahead of Game 1 on Sunday, Morris reckoned there is only one player in the National Basketball Association better than him to defend James. "Obviously, he made a game-winning play last game following [Jayson Tatum's] miss". He wants these type of moments and he's taking advantage of it. The Cleveland Cavaliers are averaging 103.5 points on 46.7 percent shooting and allowing 102 points on 47.8 percent shooting.

Having already faced Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons, the Celtics head into the Eastern Conference finals with a lot of practice defending big, explosive wing players. You can see that. We know he's going to make some insane plays.

Westgate has the defending champion Warriors as 5/8 favorites to win the title, meaning they have a better than 50-50 shot to do so. It's still the same love, and the same respect, because you've been through so much to win that championship. The only thing we know for sure is that the Celtics are going to throw different looks at him, and make sure he can never get as comfortable as he did against the Raptors. Theyre really good. Theyre always in the right spot. "But Boston led the league in defensive efficiency". But president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has them positioned so well they don't even have to. They can lock and trail and chase on pin downs. "I think our guys have done a good job with that".

"Dan Gilbert told me. you've gotta try new things", Lue said. "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". HOWEVER, I think this Rockets team is special and I would love to see coach D'Antoni finally get to a NBA Finals. "But he has got a lot of great role players around him and guys who can really create as well".

"With his speed, his athleticism, being able to get to the basket and dunk and finish around the hoop, he helps our team out a lot", Lue said.

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