Over the years, LeBron James has had a few run-ins with the Boston Celtics.
While he’s come out victorious when it matters most, for the most part, Boston has always been able to make life tough for him on the court.
Ahead of Sunday’s highly-anticipated Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Celtics, LeBron was asked a few questions about his opponents.
In typical LeBron fashion, he showered them with praise and explained exactly why they’re formidable opponents.
Despite the fact that he received no votes for Coach of the Year from his peers, LeBron views Celtics coach Brad Stevens as one of Boston’s most important assets.
"I think they are one of the most well-coached teams in our league," he said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "Obviously, you know what I've said about Brad Stevens before and his ability to get the most out of his guys, how great they are out of timeouts, late-clock situations as well, no matter who is on the floor or no matter who has played for them, he can put guys in position to succeed and get the most out of whoever has been in their lineup over the past few years, it's not just this year.”
He added, ”I think it has been a little bit overblown this year because of the names that has been out. Obviously, with Kyrie and Gordon and the injuries with those two big guys, but he has gotten the most out of everybody he has ever put in his position since he's gotten to Boston.”
Overall, Stevens has given his young and inexperienced players the tools to succeed, even during the stressful postseason. That is one of the reasons why James is so impressed.
"A lot of people are saying, 'How can they succeed like this without Gordon Hayward?' I've heard that," James said. "He's been out since the first quarter of Game 1, so it's like do we even know who they would have (become)? He's not even like been on the team. So we can talk from like potential, but he's been out since the first quarter of Game 1 in Cleveland. I get it with the Kyrie thing. He was obviously a teammate of mine for three years, and I know what he's capable of doing, but they got guys that's damn good no matter if they are young or not, they know how to play basketball and their coach has put them in position to succeed."
In order for the shorthanded Celtics to take down the surging Cavaliers, Stevens will have to yet again show off why some have already labeled him a top NBA coach. Limiting LeBron would be a start. Since no one has been able to do that in the first two rounds, Stevens and his team will have their work cut out for them.
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