Favorite Cavs open East finals on road vs. underdog Celtics

They are also averaging 113.8 points per game in their building, compared to 99.2 ppg on the road.

The Celtics beat the Washington Wizards in Game 7 on Monday night at the TD Garden, and will start the conference finals against the Cavs on Wednesday night at home. They've overcome plenty of adversity to earn their place in the conference finals. "The only story line is Celtics vs. Cavs and who can win this series". "LeBron came in and had 45 points, think he made six 3s and he was just determined that he wasn't going to let his team lose". But the cost was that the Celtics' best players have played a lot more minutes over the last month than the Cavs' best players. For Wizards fans, it's a devastating reminder of what could have been if Horford had chosen to play for Washington instead of Boston last summer; for Celtics fans, it's a complete justification of Horford's four-year max contract in year one.

James is aiming for his seventh trip to the Finals - a streak shared only by Bill Russell and other members of those famed Celtics teams in the '60s - and he'll have to go through Boston again to get there. The benefit is that the Celtics have homecourt advantage, and it's more probable than not that they'll have to take Games 1 and 2 to have a shot. Boston also connected on 11 3-pointers, including 8 of 13 in the second half. A match up with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers game one here. Falling short of the No.1 seed could force the Cavs to play a longer series than they'd like, considering the way Boston has performed at home. But in Game 5 of the 1976 National Basketball Association playoffs against the Phoenix Suns, which went into three overtimes, McDonald had to come into the game because just about every other Celtic had fouled out. "And when we have to mentally focus on our challenges that we have every game". And it's tough seeing a team led by a 5-foot-9 point guard being able to pull it off. Thomas - and the Celtics - will need much more than a slingshot to take down the Eastern Conference Goliath. They will play the Cleveland Cavaliers next. The Celtics' lone victory came on March 1, with Kevin Love out after minor left knee surgery. No one is ever 100 percent during the course of an 82-game season, but James didn't have any serious injury keeping him from playing.

James showed up at Tuesday's media gathering wearing a T-shirt that had a leprechaun with a halo over its head on it.

"They're a worthy opponent", James said. It's the flawless set-up for the Celtics to take the series opener and add suspense. This setback comes with several harsh facts attached, none worse than this reality: In the final 19 minutes, John Wall didn't score, but Celtics reserve forward Kelly Olynyk had 14 points.

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The Wizards will now be trying to be first team in this matchup to win on the opponent's home floor in 2016-17. His ability to stretch the floor due to his shooting opens the lane for Isaiah Thomas to do his thing.

"We have to be ready for their best shot, and they have to be ready for ours", Lue said. He scored 12 of his 26 points - his career-best performance in play-offs - over 31/2 minutes in the fourth quarter, as the Celtics emerged with a 115-105 triumph, winning the hard-fought series 4-3 to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2012. FILE - In this April 5, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) battles for a rebound against Boston Celtics guards Avery Bradley, left, and Isaiah Thomas, right, during the first quarter of an National Basketball Association bas. He's one of an endless number of players who have carpe diemed, shall we say, and saved the day while his more celebrated teammates watched in slack-jawed admiration (and probably shock as well). "They ain't (giving) us a chance when we was down 2-0 to Chicago". First couple rounds, they didn't think we were going to get past that so we're not really anxious about what others are thinking. "So we're going to have to play really well".

"That's just who they are, and they wouldn't take it any other way".

Al Horford is feeling confident about his decision these days. That said, Irving isn't a good defender at all (Thomas isn't much better) and the Cavs as a whole struggle at times to defend.

"I'm hurting but it's the playoffs, so there's no excuses", he said, adding it's "My whole body" that hurts.