Celtics Blog 2018-

The New Celtics.

Game Two: It's All On The Line.

By Tom Mahoney

6. Unprecedented– The Celtics really haven’t accomplished anything in the Series yet. "I haven’t thought about it," Lue said "They are up, 1-0, on their home floor, so they took care of business. It wasn’t one of our best games. But it's still 1-0 no matter if they beat us by 50 or 5. We’ll be ready to go tonight." The Cavs only have to win tonight to accomplish what they needed too, to start the Series. 

The Home team has to win both the first two games to stay ahead in the Series. "You definitely have to adjust. That's what part of the Playoff Series is about," James said. "The teams adjusting from game to game and seeing ways you can be better. I think that's an obvious question." The Road team only has to split them to take the lead in the series.

The Cavs can put Game One behind them tonight, and still split the series. "That’s game over," Lue said. "He puts it behind him and focuses on Game Two. That’s what kind of player he is. I don’t expect him to have two bad games in a row. I know he’ll be ready to go tonight." LeBron knows this much more than most. 

The Celtics have to be ready for the possessed LeBron, and not the zombie LeBron that dragged a leg through Game One. "They just outplayed us in Game 1. We’ll look to redeem ourselves tonight," James said. "When we’ve gotten off to a slow start in the first quarter or third quarter, that’s resulted in losses for us this year. We look to try to get off to a good start. I just missed [shots] the last game. I’ll take the same ones tonight." He is going to be getting his in tonight's Game.

Plus, their veteran shooters a not going to go 1 for 100, like they did in Game One. "Three-point shot is a part of our DNA," LeBron said. "It's what makes us the best team that we can be. I think even early on with the shots that we had, we had some wide-open looks that just didn't go. I think in the first quarter, J.R. and Kev, they had some great looks, they just didn't go." The Celts D was great. 

But it was not that great, "We're okay with that," LeBron said. "We're absolutely okay with that. And we're going to take those same looks going into Game Two if the opportunity presents itself." The Cavs will not miss their first 14 Threes, like they did in Game One. 

However the Celtics have continued to win, even after superstar after superstar went down to injury. "I would say it has (driven us)," Morris said. "It gave other guys opportunity to step up. It's very unfortunate that we had those injuries, but no one is going to feel sorry for us at the end of the day, so we have to take our approach of next guy up." It is really unprecedented. 

Can you remember another team that was almost in the Finals after they lost their top two players? "You hear it, you feel it, you keep that inside and let it drive you," Smart said. "Every team we’ve played in the playoffs has kind of counted us out, so when you’re on a team with nothing to lose that can play carefree, that’s a dangerous team. I can see that teams overlook us because of our age, and that works to our advantage when they take us lightly. Then it comes as a surprise to ‘em. We’re just ready." They lost Gordon and then Kyrie, and are now three wins from the Finals! Unprecedented. 

Now they just have to survive LeBron's assault tonight on all the things they have accomplished this season. "You think about it, everybody has counted us out from the beginning of the season," Smart said. "We’ve been playing with house money ever since. We have nothing to lose. Every time we go up against somebody we’re the underdogs." He is going to be a man possessed tonight, or the Cavs are done. 

7. The Series Starts Tonight- The Celtics defense overwhelmed the Cavs in Game One. "Really don’t know any better in my first season," Tatum said. "Obviously understand what’s at stake, and keep going. You just have to keep going, keep playing." But the Cavs Vets are not going to be so abused again tonight. 

They have to match that defensive effort tonight. "It’s been spectacular playing with this group. And you can actually feel: the energy, the youth, the excitement," Jaylen Brown said. "But we’ve been playing a lot older than our age. I think Terry Rozier's turnovers, (his) turnover ratio (is amazing). JT’s tough shot-making ability. Lot of the rooks stepping up. Semi Ojeleye asked to guard LeBron. Gotta grow up quick in this league." I like how the Celts match up against the Cavs. 

If their Team-D is the key to the series than the Celtics will win this series. "It was really good, both ends of the floor," Stevens said about Horford. "He covered for us defensively. He did a great job when he switched. And he did a great job when he was in help. He’s our rock. He’s the guy we really lean on." The young Celts schooled the Cavs in Game One. 

The Celtics have the size/athletic guys who can slow LeBron a little. "I think it was our energy defensively," Horford said. "I felt like we really fed off a lot of our crowd and then on offense we were taking good shots. We were really moving the ball and really taking really good looks and that helped. We were knocking them down." They can go with the 6-10 Horford to the 6-3 Smart. 

They also have the 6-9 Morris, the 6-7 Brown, and the 6-9 Tatum. "It’s a team effort, man," Morris said. "It’s not just me. Everybody played their part in guarding him. He’s obviously the best player in the game, and you need multiple guys and a team to guard him an entire game. I just think we did a great job of that." That is a lot of fouls they can give up without having to sit a guy with three or four fouls. 

f they allow LeBron to find himself than the Cavs will win the Series. "I believe that," Brown said. "Maybe we’re just young enough to not care about what society says the norm should be. End of the day you just have to come out and play. You could say we’re not affected by it, and then come out and get beat by 20 points tomorrow. People can say whatever they want, but you have to make it true." The young pups just don't normally beat the Veterans in the Playoffs. 

Usually it is the Veteran Playoff Team that schools the Young Playoff Team on Playoff defense. "I thought they had great game plan Game One," James said. "He (Morris) was the start of it. He was my matchup, and I think they did a great job of communicating throughout the whole game, knowing where I was and knowing where our teammates was. Brad and the coaching staff did a great job in Game One. You commend that. We have an opportunity to look at a lot of film tomorrow, and see ways they were making us uncomfortable, making myself off balance and not have a rhythm all game. So we’ll be much better in Game Two." But it was the not too young for Prime Time Celtics that schooled the Veteran Cavs.

Now, they just have to keep it up. "Because I’m a competitor," Morris said. "He’s the best player, you know? I’m going to be able to tell my kids this one day. It’s exciting. I love the challenge. But like I said man, it’s a team effort." The key to the Series will be if they can keep that elite level of defense up for four or five more games.

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