Finn: Celtics Will Split In Cleveland, Win Series

Chad Finn expects the Celtics to return to Boston up 3-1 – and to reach their first NBA Finals since 2010

After Hours with Amy Lawrence
May 17, 2018 - 10:02 am

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The Boston Celtics – without Kyrie Irving, without Gordon Hayward – once again beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by double digits to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Boston took Game 2, 107-94, on Tuesday, as six Celtics finished in double figures, including Marcus Smart, who had 11 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals off the bench.

The NBA Finals are within reach for the Celtics, but they can’t take their foot off the gas.

“There’s probably reason for a word of caution for the Celtics at this point (even) being up 2-0,” Boston Globe columnist Chad Finn told Zach Gelb, who was filling in as host of After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The secondary inconsistent guys from the Cavaliers play better at home. J.R. Smith has been a disaster in this series so far, but he’ll probably have a game where he buries a couple of fadeaway threes in front of the familiar fanbase.”

Smith has shot 2-of-16 (.125) in the series, including 0-of-7 from three. 

The Cavs were essentially a two-man team in Game 2, as LeBron James finished with 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Love had 22 points and 15 boards.

“It was LeBron doing everything, Kevin Love doing a little bit, it was (Kyle) Korver with his 11 in the second – and nobody else did a thing,” Finn said. “Those supporting guys will be better on their home court.”

Conversely, some of the Celtics might not perform as well on the road.

“Terry Rozier has looked like an All-Star point guard at home in the playoffs, but he’s struggled quite a bit on the road even going back to the Milwaukee series in the first round,” Finn said. “I think we’re going to see some of the guys who are a little further down the depth chart with the Celtics maybe not be as good on the road, and you’ll see some of LeBron’s supporting cast be better. 

“But I don’t know exactly what that means to the outcome of those games,” Finn continued. “I could see the Celtics coming back to Boston for Game 5 up 3-1 in this series. I almost kind of expect it, actually. This is a tough team. There’s a real mindset among these Celtics players that they’re not afraid of any challenge. Sometimes guys talk and act that way, but then they get on the court and they (shrink) a little bit. The Celtics aren’t like that. They really believe in themselves, even if some people have been skeptical about them all through the postseason.”

Game 3 is Saturday in Cleveland at 8:30 p.m. ET.