30 May, 2017
LeBron James can officially start preparing to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, but the Cleveland Cavaliers star was in no mood to do that on Thursday night. Why? Not the way we wanted to finish, but we came a long ways from the beginning of the year, came together.
"If some kid or a group of kids from the West Coast or the East Coast or the Midwest or the South and everything in between, all around the world can look at me and say, 'Well, I made the extra pass because LeBron made the extra pass, ' or, 'I got a chase-down block and I didn't give up on the play because LeBron didn't give up, ' that would mean the world to me".
One caveat, because adding those players would make the Celtics undeniably better: Their win shares this postseason could be skewed because they suffered some completely lopsided losses when they dropped games. But Boston players acknowledged there is still work to be done to catch the Cavaliers.
The Celtics did their best to keep up, but the consistent outside shooting, bench scoring and defense they relied on to stun Cleveland in Game 3 wasn't there Thursday night. (Terry) Rozier is tough, Avery is tough, (Marcus) Smart's tough. And so, I think maybe there's just a lack of appreciation for greatness. They're going to challenge us a lot, offensively, defensively, mentally, physically. But with roster that has three of the league's best players in James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, not to mention a capable and experienced supporting cast, it was hard to make a case for any team other than Cleveland coming out of the East. "We feel like we should be here, and we feel like we should be a championship-contending team".
"It's a good step forward, as a season as a whole, but you leave with a little bit of a taste in your mouth - like not playing as well [in Boston], and, man, you want to play well here because there is really no place like TD Garden in Boston", he said.More news: Disagreements surface over China-backed trade deal
"And honestly we didn't want IT to go down", Irving continued. They left the series with a -24.4 net rating, a fitting monstrosity to illustrate the massive gap between the two teams over the majority of the five games. In the 3 games that were played in Boston, the Celtics did not lead for a single possession, with only one tie occuring in those three games, early in today's game with the score tied at 3 - 3.
"We're definitely disappointed. I felt like if we weren't, it would be a problem", Bradley said.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, James will enter the Finals as an underdog for the sixth time in eight career appearances. They have the No. 1 pick; we'll see what they do with that.
With 2:44 left, the remaining Boston fans began a "Let's Go Celtics" chant that kept going until the final horn, cheering every basket as if the game was close. "I have no idea".