Even after the Cavaliers easily handled the Celtics in game one, LeBron James felt his team could perform much better. In his eyes, they didn’t even play that good. The 13 point margin of victory was deceiving, as the Cavs decimated the Celtics across the board.
Boston knows what’s coming. Avery Bradley said as much.
“Now it’s our chance that we’re supposed to be here and that we’re not gonna get swept.”
The expectations are so low, Bradley’s hoping to escape the series simply with a singular victory and avoid the sweep.
Already notoriously scrappy and now armed with the “nothing to lose” mentality, it’s not a matter of if the Celtics will play dirty, but just how dirty will they go?
Two years ago in a first round match up, Kevin Love had his arm ripped by Kelly Olynyk, sidelining him for the remainder of the postseason. Olynyk has garnered a reputation for cheap shit in the league, culminating in Kelly Oubre’s retaliatory attack on the Canadian in the previous series. When notorious nut shotter Draymond Green calls you dirty, what’s that they say about smoke and fire?
Olynyk’s not the only concern. The Celtics are littered with guys that have a penchant for the cheap and dirty.
In that same series two seasons ago, Jae Crowder was a bit excessive in his extracurricular activities, leading to Cleveland sending in Kendrick Perkins to send a message to the rubberband haired one.
Crowder didn’t heed the warning and continued to irritate the Cavs, who took things too far in retribution when JR Smith unleashed a backwards hayamker on Crowder.
The blow would earn Smith a two game suspension, which he served in the subsequent series against Atlanta.
Smith was prophetic after the game last night, believing the Cavs should expect more of the same cheap shit from Boston in the remaining three games of the series.
“We just got to expect that and understand there might be dirty plays, might be cheap shots or whatever coming from the other side, just because they’re fighting for their lives at this point”
Smith’s words come after a few chippy moments last night, that comically ended up occurring with the Celtics down 25 in the third.
Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas don't care how big Tristan Thompson is …they still gonna talk pic.twitter.com/AFB4hyqLkG
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) May 18, 2017
Hilariously, that exchange ended with Kyrie Irving pointing up to remind Isaiah Thomas they were talking shit while down 25.
Just seconds earlier, Thomas appeared to try and trip Kevin Love by grabbing his ankle.
— Joe Noga (@JoeNogaCLE) May 18, 2017
With Cleveland on a collision course to meet Golden State in the Finals, the Cavs simply want to get out of the Boston series with all hands on deck. It’ll be up to the officials to quickly stifle any antics out of Boston, which they failed to do two years ago. Then, the Cavs took matters into their own hands and it cost them JR Smith for two games. Fortunately, Atlanta was an easy win even without their starting shooting guard, but a third Finals face off with Golden State will be much more difficult.