BOSTON, MA (WOIO) - Road Warriors
The Cavaliers are in very familiar territory, and I don't just mean the city of Boston. Of the 9 playoff series they've won since LeBron returned, 8 were clinched on the road. Only the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta in 2015 were clinched and celebrated at the "Q".
Now the Cavs are in position to, as Steph Curry might say, once again leave the smell of champagne in the visitor's locker room.
That may or may not be easy. It's tough to tell. They won the first two games of this series at TD Garden by a combined 57 points, and overall, the Celtics are just 5-4 on their famed parquet floor in these playoffs.
As gritty and determined as they are, if the Cavs can build up a double-digit lead in the first half of Game 5, the Celtics just might not recover anymore.
Close Eye on Kyrie
The Cavaliers expect Irving, who rolled his left ankle late in the third quarter of Game 4, to play, and it certainly looked like he immediately recovered, bouncing up, walking it off, and then rattling off the Cavs' next 10 points to close out the quarter.
But playing on adrenaline is one thing; coming back two nights later is another. Stay tuned.
LeBron took heat early in his career for not closing series out, but in his second life with the Cavaliers he's been unparalleled, winning 10 consecutive close-out games (11 overall). Add in his love for winning on the road, his desire to stomp on Boston (although he does respect the history of the Celtics), and the fact that he responded to his 11-point speed bump in Game 3 with 34 points in Game 4, and, well, you want to bet against him?
That's what the Boston writers were going with after Game 4. That the Celtics have earned (or should I say recaptured) respect the past two games, after flopping in the first two, and that's about all they're gonna get. Anyone 'not' inside the Celtics' locker room knows they just don't have the guns to pull it off. The question isn't 'if' the Cavs will put 'em away, but 'when'. For the Cavaliers' sake, Thursday should be the night. The Warriors are already resting. The NBA Finals begin on June 1st. Let's get to the Main Event as quickly as possible.