I have been struggling to think of an appropriate metaphor for the Celtics and Cavaliers series. The popular stories that usually dominate Sports analogies have been failing me.
It’s not exactly David vs Goliath, as David has no real shot of winning. Nor are the Celtics a good representation of Sisyphus, as that is really LeBron’s eternal quest to be better than Michael Jordan. Maybe it is because there are not a lot of great stories written about an irresistible force that is faced with an easily movable object.
For example, here is LeBron’s shot chart from the first quarter of Game 1, which I stole from The Ringer.
To the surprise of no one, the Celtics were unable to stop the very thing they are not built to be able to stop. Their Wings aren’t quick enough to be able to keep up with LeBron and their guards aren’t strong enough either. If you are playing the Cavs and you don’t really have anyone to guard LeBron, you are gonna have a bad time (although shout out to Jaylen Brown for playing well again).
Again, stolen from The Ringer, the Kelly Olynyk game this was not.
Meanwhile, Kevin Love abused the Celtics as well. Love scored 32 points and had 12 rebounds while shooting six of nine from three.
It’s hard to see a path forward for the Celtics. The Cavs kind of shut down all of the positional advantages that the Celtics have when they try to do their Isaiah Thomas-Al Horford pick-and-rolls, as Tristan Thompson is good enough to either stay on Isaiah or run back to Horford. Not to mention, the Cavs can just focus on stopping that play and letting the rest of the Celtics shoot away.
Amir Johnson was the player whose time was cut in this game, as well as Terry Rozier, which left Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Kelly Olynyk to try to fill out the Celtics rotation. The team is simply not built to be able to withstand the Cavs onslaught, nor create a mismatch that they can take advantage of on offense.
Before the Cavs let off the gas, they were leading at halftime 61-49 in the first game. There is no real evidence to make us believe that anything will be different tonight. All the Celtics can really hope for is that Jaylen Brown can continue to be impressive and to accumulate game footage for Markelle Fultz to start watching.
Maybe I don’t need a metaphor for the series. The header picture says it all.
Enjoy the game, happy chatting away.