Theoretically, this could have been an interesting game tonight. In another world, the Celtics could have won one of their games at home and tonight would have been their first road test of the series. However, that is not this world.
In our timeline, the Cavaliers have built upon their dominant first game performance with what is probably one of the biggest blowouts in NBA history. At halftime, the Cavaliers had built the largest lead in NBA playoff victory, which was 72-31. The final score was 130-86. It was obscene.
Now the Cavaliers return to their home court and news has broken that Isaiah Thomas will miss the rest of the series due to an injured hip. Thomas has incurred a labrum tear and will be out for the rest of the playoffs.
The Celtics were already having issues on offense and removing the fulcrum of their attack is disastrous. If this was a normal series, we would be talking about how this has swung things in the direction of the Cavs, but the Celtics are already being completely dominated, so this is just another nail in a coffin that has already been nailed shut, put in the ground, and buried under ten feet of cement.
This series has gotten me thinking, as the Cavs and the Warriors are potentially going to be going into the finals with 12-0 records, if the matchups had changed would any team in the Eastern Conference been able to win just one game?
- Bulls: Before the Rajon Rondo injury, they looked like they had a good chance to upset the Celtics. However, the Cavaliers would have created incredibly tough matchup problems for the Bulls and would have just dared them to shoot their way to victory. Can’t see them notching a win, although the Bulls at least have the type of players that would just love to make LeBron work has hard as he can with Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo, and Jimmy Butler.
- Pacers: In retrospect, they put up quite a good fight against the Cavs even though they were swept. Many of the games were quite close and the Cavs had to fight back to win. It was their most competitive series, although they are probably in a better flow right now than they were in the first round.
- Bucks: A healthy Bucks squad would be interesting, although they were not at that point in the playoffs. The Bucks played the Cavs tough in the regular season and they would have had a good chance to steal a victory. Seem like the most promising bet so far.
- Hawks: LeBron loves the Hawks. They are great at getting swept by him. This Atlanta team wasn’t even any good. They would not have won a game
- Wizards: I think they would have won one game in the Conference Finals had they beaten the Celtics. All it takes is one hot shooting game from John Wall and Bradley Beal to win. The Cavaliers also would not be able to use their hard-trap defensive strategy as Washington has a secondary creator in Bradley Beal that would likely be able to punish this approach.
- Raptors: Even with the additions of P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka they somehow couldn’t win one game. They had injury issues to deal with, but come on.
- Celtics - Obviously, disqualified, as they are getting demolished by the Cavaliers.
So, of all the Eastern Conference teams, the best we could have hoped for is that a few of them could have won just one game. That does not speak well of the level of competition that the Cavaliers have, or could have, faced. Injuries created some of this lack of parity, but that is just part of the NBA Playoffs. It’s a long grind and the best teams, or luckiest, need to withstand the injuries.
Anyways, this is the game thread for today’s matchup.Maybe the Celtics will keep the game within 20 tonight.
Happy chatting away.