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The Boston Celtics put the Philadelphia 76ers out of their misery yesterday. The often entertaining series came to a close Wednesday night with a 114-112 nail-biter that ended with Ben 'Blake Bortles' Simmons hurling a wounded duck a third of the court, only to get it picked off by Marcus Smart who was doing his best Earl Thomas impersonation. Winning the series 3-1, the Celtics will go on to meet the Cavs in the eastern conference finals.
I came away extremely impressed with the way Boston’s young players have matured. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum played out of their mind, and Terry Rozier (scary Terry) has been unguardable in Boston. Marcus Smart has also played outstanding, getting every ounce of talent out of himself. Most of the noise coming into the series was about the 76ers young core with Simmons and Embid, but it looked to me that Boston’s young guns have the brighter future.
The 6ers came into this series with all the hype, having just beat the Heat in 5 games, you can tell the team was feeling confident and cocky. Some people in sports media even believed Philly could go to the NBA finals. Embid looked unstoppable, their outside shooting was red-hot, and Simmons looked like a man amongst boys.
The hype train did not make a stop in Boston. Losing Kyrie Irving before the playoffs, and Gordon Hayward in the first game of the season, it seemed as if people were expecting the Celtics to get bounced. Just about everyone outside of Massachusetts picked Greek freak and the Bucks to beat the Celtics in their first-round series.
Boston beat the Bucks in seven games and revealed they aren’t here merely to go through the motions and go home early.
The Celtics have a combination of exceptional coaching, energetic players, timely shooting, good defense and heart that I believe can carry them very far.
What Brad Stevens has done with this team is nothing short of a miracle. He has built this team to be a powerhouse for many years to come. Unfortunately for them, their next series is against a team that features the best player in the world, Lebron Raymone James.
It seems as if the stories of the Cleveland Cavs demise have been greatly exaggerated. After going seven with a tough Indiana Pacers team, the Lebrons’ brought the brooms out for the No. 1 seeded Raptors.
Lebron James has won 23 straight eastern conference playoff games. A lot of those games have been against the Celtics. According to USA Today, “James’ teams are 4-2 against the Celtics, and he has won the past four series, including a sweep in 2015 and a 4-1 victory in last season’s Eastern Conference finals.”
So yes, this next series will be an uphill battle, but that last two months of the Celtics season has been an uphill battle so why stop believing now?