LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the verge of reaching their third consecutive NBA Finals. If the Cavs can close out the Eastern Conference Finals with a win against the Celtics on Thursday night, they'll be on their way for yet another rematch with the Golden State Warriors for the Larry O'Brien trophy.
The Cavs-Warriors Finals has felt inevitable since day one of the 2016-2017 season, and it's happening with even less resistance than many anticipated. Stephen Curry and the Warriors have steamrolled their competition in the West, going a perfect 12-0 along the way.
The Cavaliers have been just as convincing, dropping just one game thus far and seeming like the only team in the East with a fighting chance against Golden State. But for his part, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue isn't too preoccupied about the monumental task of taking down the 2014-2015 champs.
That's because there's something that worries him more than Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. The Boston Celtics.
"We're just focused on Boston," Lue told a group of Cleveland reporters following the Cavs' Game 4 win on Tuesday. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."
That's right. Lue thinks a team who's offense is currently being led by Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley is harder to defend than a juggernaut featuring two former MVPs and one of the deadliest shooters in the league's history in Klay Thompson. The same Marcus Smart that's shooting below 30-percent from beyond the arc for his career?
Lue explained that Celtics coach Brad Stevens' versatile playbook makes it tough to figure out Boston's offense:
"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff but these guys are running all kids of s---," Lue said. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace and everybody's a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."
The fact that Lue is saying this after Isaiah Thomas has been forced to sit out the rest of the playoffs due to injury speaks volumes to the job that Stevens has been able to do with the banged up Celtics roster.
Boston probably won't pull off the upset down 3-1, but with Brad Stevens at the helm and the number-one pick in the draft, the future is bright for New England basketball fans.