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NBA Playoffs: Closing Time

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The Cavaliers look to end the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics (1) host Cavaliers (2)
7:30 EST
TNT
Cavaliers lead the series 3-1

The Cleveland Cavaliers have won 12 straight games where they have an opportunity to end an NBA Playoff series. That seems straightforward considering the continuous success that LeBron and the Cavs have had, but it is astounding to think about the fact that they were leading a majority of these series. So when the moment was in front of them, when they had a chance to claim victory, regardless of if it was Game 4 of Game 7, the Cavaliers were successful.

The writing seems to be on the wall for the Celtics, or maybe it was written in stone before the playoffs even began. Although the Celtics have been able to be competitive in the last two games, even stealing one victory away on Cleveland’s home turf, they have yet to really show that they can play up to the level of the Cavaliers for a sustained period of time. The Celtics were reliant on hot shooting from Marcus Smart in Game 3 and, while they had a great first half in Game 4, lost that game’s 3rd quarter 40 to 23.

Kyrie Irving was incredible that game. His acrobatics in the third quarter, even after he turned his ankle driving through the lane, were absolutely amazing. Even after watching the replay time and time again, it was still hard to be sure how he made some of those shots. My favorite play was at the very end of the 3rd quarter, when he seemed unsure if he should shoot the last second three from way downtown. Kyrie looked he just mentally shrugged and decided to go for it.

Kevin Love has also been incredible during this playoff run. He is shooting 47.9 percent from deep right now and has an effective field goal rate of 59.1. In the last game he had a very Kevin Love stat line of 17 points and 17 rebounds. His outlet passes have been simply tremendous (even if LeBron missed a dunk on one of them last game) and he certainly seems locked in and ready for the Finals.

The Celtics, of course, would like to be able to soldier on, but they have been outmatched all series long and it is hard to see them stopping the Cavalier’s victory streak in closing games at 12.

This will be the game thread for tonight’s game.

Happy Chatting Away!