NBA Playoffs: Celtics vs. Cavaliers
- Starting FiveIt's hard to find the star in the Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller starting five, but they've been getting it done for Brad Stevens.If LeBron, Irving and Love aren't enough, J.R. Smith is also knocking down shots in the Cavs' starting five.
- BenchIsaiah Thomas is Boston's scoring star, and he provides that spark off the bench. But the C's bench is a lot more than just Thomas, with guys like Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko also making big impacts down the stretch.The Cavs don't really have much of a bench aside from Iman Shumpert, but Tristan Thompson is a solid rebounder off the bench and Matthew Dellavedova brings some energy to the floor. Oh, and Kendrick Perkins is there to pull down some rebounds and scowl at everyone.
- OffenseWhile they struggled to find offensive consistency this season, Boston averaged 101.4 points per game. That increased to 102.3 points per game after the All Star break.Led by LeBron's 25.3 points per game, the Cavs put up 103.1 points per contest this season. They also came on stronger after the break, averaging 105.1 points per game.
- DefenseThe Celtics might own a slight edge here, just because they play solid team defense. They held opponents to just 99.4 points per game and averaged 18.6 points off turnovers following the break -- ranking them seventh in the NBA in that category.The Cavs held opponents to 98.7 points per game this season, good for a +4.4 point differential.
- Head CoachBrad Stevens has asserted himself as one of the best young coaches in the league, and many have already dropped "young" out of that title all together. His after-time out plays have been phenomenal at the end of games, and he gets the most out of everyone who steps on the floor.LeBron is a pretty good head coach, but that Blatt guy really slows him down sometimes.
The Celtics have the better bench and coach, and their defense may be a shade better, but the Cavs starting five is far superior to Boston's and outweighs everything else. While the Celtics won't go down without a fight, the Cavaliers will likely take the series in no more than five games.