April 14, 2018 at 3:19 am #3309
The Cavs have their “Big Three” — four-time All-Stars Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and that one kid from Akron, Ohio, all household nba mt 2k18 buy names. The Celtics have the “Value Brand” equivalent in burgeoning bona fide superstar Isaiah Thomas, a reinvigorated Al Horford and Avery Bradley, a defensive specialist who’s expanding his offensive arsenal before our eyes in the postseason.
Despite being the No. 1 seed, Boston, set to host Cleveland in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, is the underdog. The Celtics aren’t anyone’s Washington Generals, but you might locate ice water in Hell before you find someone who thinks they’ll actually win the series. If the Celtics plan on being anything more than a speed bump as the Cavaliers, undefeated in the playoffs, cruise to a third-straight Finals appearance, it’s going to be incumbent upon an even lesser known starter, fourth-year small forward Jae Crowder, to show up and show out out like never before. Crowder could be the most important supporting player on both ends of the floor for a team whose bench produced 48 points in a Game 7 win against the Wizards on Monday.
While Horford has surged, increasing his scoring (14.0 to 16.1 ppg), passing (5.0 to 5.8 apg) and rebounding (6.8 to 7.5) averages along with his 3-point field-goal percentage (35.5 to 58.3) from the regular to postseason, Thomas (28.9 to 25.4 ppg, 46.3 percent shooting to 44.1) and Bradley (16.3 to 15.8 ppg, 46.3 percent shooting to 45.8) are scoring less and shooting worse. Boston could use a whole lot more of the Crowder who dropped 24 points, going 8 of 14 from the field along with six rebounds in 35 minutes, in a 12-point win against the Wizards in Game 1. It could do without the Crowder who turned in his worst game of the postseason a week later when he tallied six points, missing seven of his nine shots from the field, in a 19-point defeat.
In the Celtics’ eight playoff wins, Crowder is averaging 14.6 points per game. In their five losses, he’s scoring 9.0 per contest. He’s shooting 35.7 percent from 3-point range in playoff wins as opposed to 27.2 percent in losses.Crowder is an effective screener and capable of finishing at the rim against bigs like he did on 7-0 Wizards center Jason Smith. In a matchup against the Cavs, whose 114.5 points per game is second to only the Warriors (115.0) in the postseason, the Celtics could use every morsel of offense they can muster.
Bron At 6-6, 235 pounds, Crowder, a former high school football standout, is Boston’s most comparable athlete to LeBron James, who is deceptively listed at 6-8, 250 pounds. Crowder will likely draw the duty of being the primary defender against the four-time MVP (at least early on). Reserve forward Jaylen Brown has the Celtics’ best defensive rating among wings in their regular rotation, allowing 98.7 points per 100 possessions, but at 6-7, 225, is a much slimmer opposition. Celtics coach Brad Stevens forcing a rookie to check James would be a suicide mission. Crowder’s rating is the next best at 104.3. He simply must man up NBA 2K MT and do a better job than the last time the Celtics faced Cleveland on April 5. James finished with a game-high 36 points on 14-for-22 shooting and added 10 rebounds and six assists to lead his team to a 114-91 win on the road. James had his way with Crowder, Brown, Bradley and Marcus Smart. LeBron even took it to Horford at times.
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