Does It Matter Whether LeBron Faces Celtics or 76ers in East Finals?

SBR Staff

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 1:26 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 8, 2018 1:26 PM UTC

The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now they just await their opponent. But with how LeBron James is playing, does it matter?

Death, taxes and a LeBron James team in the Eastern Conference Finals. Those are the three sure things in life at least since 2011 (OK, death and taxes much longer).

On Monday night, LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the Toronto Raptors – the East’s No. 1 seed, mind you – 128-93 to complete the four-game sweep. It’s the third straight season the Cavs have ended the lone Canadian NBA team’s season and second straight year it happened with a sweep completed on May 7. James has now been part of a series sweep in six consecutive seasons, which is an NBA record. Shoot, the only other players in NBA history to sweep a best-of-7 series in more than two consecutive seasons are teammates of LeBron’s.

It will be LeBron’s 10th conference finals in the past 12 years and his eighth straight. His teams (Cavs and Heat) have won each of the past seven and will be favored against either the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers in these East Finals even though either Boston (most likely) or Philly would have home-court advantage. The Celtics can end that series on Wednesday night in Game 5 back at home.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

This is fun! 😂

RJ chats with Swish. @FSOAllieOop chats with RJ. LeBron makes a cameo. Let the good times roll! #WhateverItTakes pic.twitter.com/0LG534Vf6A

— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) May 8, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

On the current Intertops odds to win the East, the Cavs are -250 with Celtics +200 and 76ers +1400 – no team in NBA history has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series as Philadelphia is attempting.

LeBron’s last playoff series loss in the East was Game 6 of the 2010 conference semifinals against the Celtics, a defeat that caused James to “take his talents to South Beach” for a few years. Barring Boston-Philadelphia going to a Game 7, the 2018 East Finals would begin Sunday in Boston.

Of course, the Cavaliers traded LeBron’s All-Star sidekick Kyrie Irving to Boston this past offseason, but Irving is done for the year following knee surgery. Cleveland was 2-1 vs. the Celtics during the regular season. The teams last met Feb. 11 in Boston and the Cavs rolled to a 121-99 victory. James shook off a first-quarter leg injury to score 24 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds. That blowout ruined Paul Pierce’s night at TD Garden as the Celtics retired the legend’s number. That was also the first game as Cavs for Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, George Hill and Larry Nance Jr., all acquired at the trade deadline. Irving was still active then and had 18 points.

Cleveland was 2-2 vs. Philadelphia, winning the first two and dropping the final two. The last meeting was April 6 in Philly, a 132-130 Sixers victory. Both James and Ben Simmons had triple-doubles. That win essentially was what got the 76ers the third seed in the East and landed Cleveland at No. 4. The Cavs and Sixers have met just once in the playoffs, way back in 1990.

To win the NBA title, Cleveland is currently +450 at Intertops with Boston +1800 and Philadelphia +8000.

Intertops Sportsbook: Top Odds for ALL US Major and College Leagues!
comment here