Is Celtics' Playoff Run Bothering Kyrie Irving? Chris Broussard Has Wild Thought

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving Cavs

At the time, nobody knew that Irving's fallaway jumper against Cory Joseph with two minutes remaining in the first half would be his final field goal of the 2017-18 season.

With a rotation of six effective players by the end of the series; seventh man Marcus Morris shot a miserable 25.6 percent in the final three games - and is hitting just 35.4 percent for the playoffs - and eighth man Semi Ojeleye averaged a mere 6.5 minutes in the last four.

At just 24 years old, Smart has already played in 36 postseason games.

- So many are looking for similarities between what the Celtics have dealt with in their first two series and what Cleveland presents.

Most of the NBA community was taken aback after Stevens failed to receive a single vote from his peers when the National Basketball Coaches Association gave out its coach of the year award. After Ainge went for Rozier, a sophomore out of Louisville, he was heavily criticized from all corners of the Internet, TV waves and newsprint. Grade: F. No. Fail.

"But there's no better way to start your career than by playing probably the best guy in the league".

"It's all been going really well". And even if it isn't enough to counter the inherent LeBron-ness of the Cavaliers, it's just one more piece of evidence that Boston's youngsters are thriving in the high-leverage learning opportunities they're being given. He averaged 10 points in nearly 30 playoff minutes in Utah's 11 playoff contests. Like a little guard that can go in there and get rebounds, that shows toughness. He followed that up by scoring 31 in his second start. His improved shooting has opened up driving lanes, where he has clearly been learning from Irving about how to use his body to ward off taller, longer defenders.

Rozier told The Athletic, "This has been our team".

"We played two great teams so far, and with the close games that we've been in and the leads that we've had to come back from, I think that's prepared us a lot for this next series". But I was downright nasty on the Brown pick.

Then LeBron found Tatum and the latter's shot, sending it into the Cavaliers' bench, where Bron's teammates stood and shouted such niceties as, "Get that the (expletive) out of here". While he sometimes struggled in help defense and had a ways to go in breaking down defenses off the dribble, he immediately flashed promise. "I don't see that".

Brown said he was treating Wednesday's game like another Game 7. All-Star games await this 21-year-old multi-talented wing.

"It's a great feeling", Tatum said of the trust he's receiving.

Tatum has been nothing short of a revelation, playing 80 games and bursting through the proverbial "rookie wall" like the Kool-Aid man.

Thomas, in his third season in Boston, led the Celtics in most offensive categories last season, including points (28.9) and assists (5.9), but did not rejoin the Cavs' lineup until January because of hip problems, then played only 15 games (averaging 14.7 ppg) before being shipped out to LA, where he played in 17 games and averaged 15.6 ppg.

Yet, Boston won 55 games during the regular season and increased its win total for the fifth consecutive season under Stevens. When Rozier or Horford sits, the Celtics often run their offense through Tatum.

Larkin was injured with about 1:30 left in the first quarter of Game 4 against Philadelphia as he tried to get around a hard screen from the 76ers' Joel Embiid. They were keeping score, and he wanted to win.

Certainly Cleveland can end that fun if it can reach the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year. "It's not just this year".

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