Playoffs Live Thread, ECF Game 1: Cavs @ Celtics

Happy Mothers Day, and Welcome to the Eastern Conference Finals, Cavs fans. The Cavaliers travel to the TD Garden this afternoon, to take on the Celtics and their hungry cast of young players. The last time the Cavs took on this squad in the playoffs, Boston was without NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who’d been shut down because of a lingering hip issue, and the Celtics had new life because they’d won game three without him. The Cavs won game four comfortably and then stepped into game five in the Garden and dropped a 135-102 beatdown on Beantown that made us all laugh at NBA Analytics.

This time, the Celtics are better, though. Replacing Avery Bradley is Terry Rozier who’s averaging 18/5.5/5.8 in 37 minutes a night. Replacing Jae Crowder is rookie Jason Tatum who isn’t a rookie anymore and is dropping 18.8/4.5/3.8. Al Horford is having possibly his best year as a pro, and definitely his best playoffs while Jaylen Brown is chipping in a 58 TS%. The Clovers have those four guys averaging 17 or more a night, and six averaging at least double digits when you add the Marcus brothers, Smart and Morris, to the mix. Rounding out the top eight is bruiser, Aaron Byanes.

Thankfully the Celtics are without backup point guard Shane Larkin, who is out with a shoulder strain and likely out for the “entire series.” Normally, the, diminutive point guard’s absence would be a fairly nominal event, but the 14-minutes per game he plays are as Boston’s lone backup point guard. This leaves Marcus Smart as the backup one for the Celtics. Depth at guard is going to be an issue for the Celtics, and Tatum and Brown will likely play a good bit of time there.

The Celtics have certainly have had their share of injuries this year, having lost Hayward, Irving, and Daniel Theis for the season, and now Larkin for the series. But expect no sympathy from the Cavs and their fans. There’s little love lost for Irving even though the events of last summer and the trade that sent Crowder and Thomas packing from the Cavs both seem like a lifetime ago.

Tactics: I’m the Cavs, I’m giving help off Tatum, who is shooting just 31% from three this playoffs. I’m also going after Rozier defensively to get him into foul trouble as often as possible. For Cleveland, pressing their advantages over Horford (Tristan Thompson), Baynes (speed), and Rozier (lack of depth), and keeping Boston off the o-boards will be key, as will limiting turnovers that get the crowd and their young guns into transition and into the game.

Prediction: holiday afternoon games seem to favor the road team to me, as distractions are greater at home, and the road team is more irritated. Cleveland wins the war and wins semi comfortably 112-104.

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Vintage
Guest
Vintage
3 months 2 days ago

LeBron wins on the road, except in Game 1

This article is from last year, so LeBron’s updated record for Game 1s on the road is 3-11.

Vintage
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Vintage
3 months 2 days ago

Leo
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Leo
3 months 2 days ago

nothing in NBA is consistent, there is always a reaction to everything, Game 2 will be much different game as Cavs will make adjustments and some Celtics will fall back to the mean….it happens all the time…even when cavs swept Raptors, every game was different and some players went nuts while others dropped to mean, Cavs missed a lot of point blank and wide open shots, they hit those, we have different conversation. Just remember, this Celtics crowd got funeral quiet when Cavs got within 14 points, which isn’t very close…Cavs keep this close, the crowd tightens and so will Celtics, the youth will get them, veteran leadership always prevails in NBA history…just recharge everything and get more aggressive from the start, GO CAVS!!

Simmo
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Simmo
3 months 2 days ago

Boogieeels
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Boogieeels
3 months 3 days ago

For Lebron, I think this game was like the equivalent of a batter “taking all the way” on a pitchers first pitch. Bat on the shoulder, clocking the speed, letting the pitcher throw a strike. We’ve seen Lebron do this before. The proof is in how he played: Lemme see what happens when I drive to the hoop on them…lemme see how they defend my turnaround…what’s it gonna do to them if I pull up for 3 after the pick?….what passes are gonna be open for me out of the post? HE WAS EXPERIMENTING!! The turnovers are just a result of that. WE ARE OK, CAVS FAITHFUL!
My prediction: Cavs win next three (Game 2 a squeaker, Game 3 blowout, Game 4 a comeback). Celts youngin’s play their guts out and get a win in Game 5. Cavs win by 14 to close it out in Game 6. Then wait for winner of Game 7 Rockets/Warriors.

RC Kim
Member
3 months 3 days ago

I agree tonight was an aberration but this series is going to be a slog. People got a little too excited by the Raptors sweep. Fundamentally this is still the same Cavs team Boston faced in 2017 minus Kyrie and Boston isn’t scared of that combination, unlike the Raptors who suffer from permanent LeBron PTSD. Their mascot should the guy in Edmund Munch’s “The Scream”, not a dinosaur.

The thing that worries me about these Cavs is that their game plan seems to basically be “have LeBron keep us in it until the other team stops executing or gets cold and have him steal the game and/or just hope JR and Korver hit a lot of threes.” I don’t love it as a strategy against actually good teams. Which is not to say it doesn’t work a lot of the time, but it’s still not a great strategy.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 2 days ago

Yeah, I agree that probably won’t work against Boston. Non-Lebron’s are likely going to have to be a lot more self sufficient against Boston’s pressure.

RC Kim
Member
3 months 3 days ago

*Edward Munch. Way to step on my own joke…

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
3 months 3 days ago

If you can’t find your car keys, just ask LeBron where you left them.

Sim
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Sim
3 months 3 days ago

The only thing that lebron messed up on in his assessment of the beginning of the 4th quarter was mistakenly calling jc -Jordan Crawford ,,,,, wow wonder what kind of regard he has for jc

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

LeBron: “I got a good sense of how they played me today, and how I need to play going into Game 2.”

Me: Better.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

I will say as far as defending LBJ, Boston is more suited than Indy just based off their personnel I think. Boston has way more big, physical, and athletic bodies to make LBJ work hard on getting to the bucket in isos than Indy does. Morris, Brown, Smart, Horford, and Tatum are better than everyone but Young and Lance on Indy in terms of the combo of physicality/size/athleticism on LBJ. Dipo is quick but too small. Joseph was too small. Same with Collison. Bogdan, Turner, booker, and Sabonis were too slow.

believeLAND
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believeLAND
3 months 3 days ago

That’s not even including Ojeleye and Yabusele

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

I would have to disagree on the Bogdanovic part. I think he played LeBron great defensively.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Ok some games and got torched others. I don’t think he has the tools of Morris, Brown, or Tatum.

RC Kim
Member
3 months 3 days ago

Also Bogdanovic would disappear on O for stretches or entire games if his threes weren’t falling. I don’t see Tatum, Brown or Morris putting up lines like he did in Game 7 (37 minutes, 3 points, 2 assists, 0 rebounds). You have to make LeBron work on both ends of the floor to beat him consistently, and Indy ultimately couldn’t do that.

Leo
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Leo
3 months 3 days ago

thought it was interesting how when Cavs got within 18 and then to 14 to end 3rd the whole arena was dead quiet, and that was at a 14 point game, which can be considered a blowout….if Cavs keep things close or start making comebacks the crowd is going to get tense and go into their favor….the start of the 4th was straight ugly that they let crowd and team right back in the game.

Leo
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Leo
3 months 3 days ago

wouldn’t be surprised to see TT in starting lineup next game, think Korver will be better off bench….also think Clarkson had moments but again tries to do too much, wonder how long leash he will have before they go to Calderon…Hill has to be more aggressive to start…no one on Celtics scares me, but as a team they play fairly well and had incredible turnout today….nothing stays the same in NBA, so look for Cavs to bounce back in a close one and the series starts over next Saturday

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Watching the highlights of the first half, seems like the cavs struggled stopping the Celtics (especially Horford) physically in the paint. Looked like Horford outmuscled love a number of times for post buckets and that brown, Rozier, and Tatum kind of bulled and muscled their way into the paint for layups against a number of perimeter defenders. Morris did too. Wonder if tt starting may be help. Also looked like they went at Korver doing something Baby Dinos couldn’t do or didn’t try much. Not surprising, but the cavs will probably have to help.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Also hopefully the Celtics three point proficiency doesn’t continue. If Morris, Horford, Brown, and Tatum are hitting at high rates and under semi-contested conditions in addition to Rozier, who was cold, they are going to be difficult to stop. Credit to Stevens for going with Morris. Provides a lot more spacing. Doubt Baynes gets any minutes with Horford this series.

RC Kim
Member
3 months 3 days ago

They may not have to play together if they can split minutes at center and each go +17…

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

A-freaking-men:

Clarkson-Hood-James-Green-Thompson in the Playoffs
84.1 oRTG
152.7 dRTG (one hundred fifty two point seven, American)
-68.6 Net Rating
A reminder that the Cavs are not required to play this lineup

— Mike Zavagno (@MZavagno11) May 13, 2018

topgun
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topgun
3 months 3 days ago

does entire coaching staff not have this info or not get this in their coaching head? or is Lue still experimenting until he is fired?

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

Guarantee you thay have this info. Yet this lineup still sees the floor. Why.

believeLAND
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believeLAND
3 months 3 days ago

I feel like we perpetually swing on a pendulum between “man, the Cavs really aren’t very good” to “wow, Lebron’s the GOAT!”

RC Kim
Member
3 months 3 days ago

Everybody other than LeBron is just so damn inconsistent. If at least a couple of other guys reliably played well every night it would easier to draw a bead on them. Literally nothing they do surprises me. TT could grab 20 boards, Love, Korver and JR could hit 15 threes and this team could win by 30, or they can play like dog crap and lose by 30, and any result in between. All I know for absolutely sure is that LeBron is the GOAT and Jordan Clarkson is terrible.

John B
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John B
3 months 3 days ago

Both can be true at the same time. One does not preclude the other.

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

Lue should be fired on the spot if he brings out the Clarkson/ TT/ Lebron/ Hood/ Green lineup again. Yet I have zero doubt we’ll be seeing it Tuesday.

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

Unfortunately he won’t.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

If the cavs get blown out again in game 2, the Celtics are taking this in five. My prediction based on nothing but feel. LBJ has to be by far the best player on the floor every night for the cavs to even have a chance at winning any game. Hopefully tonight was less the Celtics d and more him being in a funk.

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

I don’t agree with this. Other than the first minute of the 4th quarter, the Celtics really didn’t do anything amazing. Their defense was good but nowhere near Indy. I blame the Cavs for losing more than I give the Celtics credit for winning.

It was quite clear in the first quarter that Cleveland had no momentum coming in. They played lethargic and missed plenty of open looks. If those had gone in it would had been a different game altogether.

Hopefully game two is much better for the Cavs.

John B
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John B
3 months 3 days ago

Yeah, my prediction is based off a repeat happening. If that happens it means the C’s are doing something to shut the Cavs down. Based off the fact the Cavs couldn’t even get it to within 10, the C’s were just a more dominant team tonight. Wasn’t as close as Indy game 1. But I missed the first thru 3rd.

LeBron does have to be way way way better than anyone on the celtics though for any shot to win any game. That much is not in doubt.

Jason
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Jason
3 months 3 days ago

Bron 5-16 with 7 TOs and 0-5 from deep for a team worst -32. No other Cav was worse than -17 (JR).

That much of a stinker is shocking after the rest they had. Lue has no clue.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
3 months 3 days ago

Kjjsksks

topgun
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topgun
3 months 3 days ago

I just would like to see Lue go… even if Bron leaves… i can’t stand watching Lue at work…

RC Kim
Member
3 months 3 days ago

It would be hilarious if they replaced Lue with Duane Casey. I can only assume the Cavs would collapse upon themselves and create a black hole.

topgun
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topgun
3 months 3 days ago

you got it down to 14 and then start of 4th.. what kind of junk lineup was that Lue?

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

It was the ‘Pestak Lineup’, as Lue refers to it. He knows exactly what he’s going to get with it.

Leo
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Leo
3 months 3 days ago

horrific start, but Celtics set the tone and energy much like the Pacers, Cavs couldn’t hit shots and of course had bad defense…Lebron wasn’t doing much either to help things, probably his worst game of playoffs for sure….this reminded me of Pacers game 1 and 6 where nothing really went right…wasn’t sure we would get bombed like this, but also think it was a bad combo of Celtics hitting everything and Cavs not getting consistent makes all game….if they had another 3rd quarter scoring it would be closer game to make things happen…just move on and get ready for Game 2

NickNevers
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NickNevers
3 months 3 days ago

Agreed, won’t get bent outta shape about this.

topgun
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topgun
3 months 3 days ago

why is Clarkson playing so much? why Lue believes in this kid over Calderon? i don’t get it.. Clarkson is god awful on D and makes mistake after mistake on O… yes, he occasionally scores, but Calderon is overall better

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

Probably because he’s had some of his better games against the Celtics, which doesn’t mean much to me. A ‘good’ Clarkson game is one where he takes a bunch of lousy shots, is a black hole on offense otherwise, and makes half of his bad shots. A bad Clarkson game is when he does the same thing and makes 30% of his shots. Bad happens way more often than good.

Jason
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Jason
3 months 3 days ago

Can I change my pick to Celtics in 4?

They are such a better TEAM. They all play smart, hard, and together. And to their strenghts.

We play so much iso. LeIso. Love on the post iso. Clarkson iso. JR step back iso. Hood iso. A lot of it without even trying to run offense first. Force a switch. Move ball & bodies side to side. We just take iso shots with 16 on the clock.

Leo
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Leo
3 months 3 days ago

overreact much, we lost by 20 at home to Pacers in 1st round and figured it out, nothing complex about this

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Old school. Worked for one ship. Too bad we aren’t the same team. Celtics/warriors are the new wave of offense.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Wave>>>>style.

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

Jeezzzz, you’re comparing the Celtics to the Warriors???

The Warriors have two HOF players in their prime, that’s their “new offense”.

There’s nothing new about the Celtics. They just happen to have you guys talent who’s not affraid of the moment and a smart coach.

John B
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John B
3 months 3 days ago

No. Not in effectiveness. In style. The Cavs had two hall of famers in their primes last year and a third all star and the year before and the Cavs played nothing like the warriors on offense. Zero nada, no similarly in styles. Your point is reductive and completely misses the point.

The Celtics have a system that creates shots from nothing. So do the warriors. It doesn’t require a “dominant” playmaker. Much of the easy buckets the warriors always generate are not off of Herculean type efforts a la James but because guys constantly move in their system for 24 seconds, defenses can’t help but break down eventually and for multiple possessions per game.

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

I don’t think the Celtics are anything like the Warriors. I also think the “new style” you mentioned has been going on for years – Spurs come to mind, along with the mid ’00’s Pistons and for a bit the Howard Magics. The only thing the Warriors have, again, are two HOF in their prime and two other All Stars, which make their “new style” win a lot more games.

And another thing, Curry must be the absolute best 3pt shooter/creator/maker in the history of the game, so that along makes it incredibly difficult for teams to go against them. If it wasn’t for Curry and Durant the Warriors would be the Toronto Raptors.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

You are right on the Spurs and Pistons. However, their were really not many teams running motion like them. Feel like their are more now like the warriors that run read and react offenses incorporating a whole slew of different styles like the triangle, motion, and some Princeton principles. As for Curry and Durant, sure. But they did win 73 games without Durant and it took some major good fortune for us to come back in 2016. Curry definitely unlocks a fair amount of what they do, but that team ran a way way way different and simpler offense under Marc Jackson.

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

there, blah autocorrect

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Oof. Cavs might as well concede. Be interesting to see how bad this gets in terms of team history.

Jake
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Jake
3 months 3 days ago

Time to fire lue now in middle of the playoffs this team was nowhere near prepared for this

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
3 months 3 days ago

Sheesh. Time to pull James.

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

I’d rather watch IT play offense than watch Clarkson. Wish I was joking. Why the hell did the Lakers give him that ridiculous contract?

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

I’m calling it now. Switching over to Netflix. What a waste.

Vintage
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Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

All right, I’ve had enough for this afternoon

Jason
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Jason
3 months 3 days ago

6 TOs for the not GOAT.

Jason
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Jason
3 months 3 days ago

For instance, Bron stood & watched Smart hit that 3 when he could have smothered him in the corner.

Jason
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Jason
3 months 3 days ago

You cannot play in spurts, be it in terms of playing hard, or smart, vs a team that does it all the time & expect to win.

Vintage
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Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

I’m anticipating a couple of hero ball three attempts by LeBron to see if he’s feeling it

CLF
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CLF
3 months 3 days ago

Not even watching the game and I know exactly the lineup everybody’s talking about: LBJ, Green, TT, Clarkson, Hood…. the crappy shooter lineup.

Leo
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Leo
3 months 3 days ago

Well lebron is ready for game 2 haha

Jake
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Jake
3 months 3 days ago

James trying to lose the game for us no energy

MikeO
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MikeO
3 months 3 days ago

TT and Clarkson is a recipe for success…in Hell…

Mike Podracky
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Mike Podracky
3 months 3 days ago

This 4 th quarter lineup Lue trots out is just garbage again

Jason
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Jason
3 months 3 days ago

2 o boards for 5 pts right out of the gate for 5 pts. Travel on that last one.

Vintage
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Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

Took one minute of an idiotic lineup for this game to be over

Vintage
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Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

Man, absolutely NOT the lineup I wanted to see to start the 4th

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago

Well let’s see what happens now.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
3 months 3 days ago

Green at the buzzer! Lead cut in half…

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

Wow what a giant shot by Green to finish the 3rd

Vintage
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Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

I think Lue needs to play Love at the 4 and put TT in to cover Horford

JOHN B
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JOHN B
3 months 3 days ago

Who has been on James most of the game? No way to watch right now.

JRL
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JRL
3 months 3 days ago
TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
3 months 3 days ago

morris

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
3 months 3 days ago

Cavs need to go on another run before the end of this quarter

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