Call Me Crazy But...I'm Still Picking the Celtics to Win the East
Let’s skip the formalities, here’s how the rest of the season will play out: Boston will eventually get their act together, fly as far under the radar as a team with five All-Stars possibly can, finish with the second seed in the East, and will knock out the Cavaliers in six games of the Conference Finals.
But I can understand why that statement may seem ridiculous right now.
I can hear the naysayers already: “Hold your horses buddy! The Cavaliers have won twelve straight games!” Well...LeBron’s really won 12 straight games but we’ll get back to that in a bit.
“What about Orlando? They were the ones to dethrone the Celtics in 2009 and KG’s return hasn’t proven to make much of a difference.” Not quite yet it hasn’t, but veterans like KG have a way showing life in the playoffs they didn’t have in the regular season.
“They were swept by Atlanta and haven’t shown any answers for their athleticism.” Yeah, well off the top of my head I’ve got about half a dozen playoff series that had very different outcomes than what the regular season did.
What I’m saying is that the Celtics are too low, things are going too bad for them right now, and something’s going to give.
We haven’t even hit the All-Star break yet and the Celtics are on pace to lose nearly double the amount of home games they did in their previous two seasons combined. They’ve lost all of their swagger, teams are no longer intimidated by them and what’s worse is that they’ve dropped three straight games to their arch rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
(Interesting stat: the Celtics last two losses against the Lakers have come by a combined two points.)
However what worries me is that the Celtics’ descent only seems to effect them against teams they aren’t especially motivated to beat. Don’t you find it interesting that the Celtics are the only top team in the East that Cleveland hasn’t beat?
Why do you think that is?
For the Cavaliers to win LeBron James needs to be a walking triple double. During the 12 game win streak LeBron has his Cavaliers riding, he’s been averaging 30ppg on 48% percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, and over 9.5 apg.
People talk about how the Cavaliers have been winning without having a fully healthy roster, but all that shows is just how insignificant their contributions really are.
Think about it: would the Lakers be playing their basketball of the season without Pau Gasol? Would the Nuggets be able to go on win streaks without Chauncey Billups? Would the Jazz be on their current nine game win streak without Carlos Boozer?
No player in the NBA carries as much weight as James, and that’s why he’s not going to win the Championship this year. The Celtics, though reeling at the moment, are the top-to-bottom most complete team in the NBA.
No matter how great James is, no matter how unstoppable his game may be, his biggest (and maybe only) weakness is that he is only one man and no one-man act can beat a great team.
I thought the Magic-Cavaliers series last year taught us that.
So Cleveland, enjoy your winning streak. Boston won’t get half the amount of attention you will, but be careful; historically the Celtics have proven to be at their most dangerous when counted out.
Just realize that this season is far from over and as far as Boston is concerned, you’d do well to postpone the funeral.
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