I have to be honest, I’m starting to lose my shit a little bit. Wednesday night feels like forever ago, and as I sit here with still a whole additional day to go, things are getting a little restless. Which is why I figured I would help distract my brain by checking in with the stoolies, and in turn help maybe distract your brain as we all try and get through this waiting period together. Remember, this mailbag is here for just that reason. You can participate by tweeting my whatever with #GreenieBag or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alright let’s dive in
Am I crazy to think that we could actually beat this Cavs team and make a finals run? Is us handling Giannis and Simmons the perfect warmup for Lebron? – Joe
First off Joe, don’t get confused. There is no perfect warmup for Lebron. That exists for other players, but not him. You can’t replicate his own dominance, and then everything that happens for the players around him. So in that regard you’re a little crazy.
But you’re not crazy in thinking the Celtics could somehow win this series. Or maybe you are crazy, but so am I so I consider you normal. The playoffs are all about matchups, and everything we saw in regards to last year’s matchup can’t really be applied here. On the surface you could say with no Kyrie the Cavs got worse, and with the added size and length for the Celtics, they enter this series much more capable of defending which is most important. They now have more options of guys that can create his own shot, and can switch and be used against multiple positions. Even if you don’t stop Lebron, you are equipped to theoretically be in a position to stop everyone else. When you can do that, you have a chance.
When can Al Horford get a raise?!?!? A max isn’t high enough!!!!
– Mike drunk off Kool Aid
While I can confirm that I am in fact not Mike, I have to say I like where his head is at. I’ll tell you what though, one of the better storylines of the season for the Pro Horford vs Anti Horford battle to the death is how he performs against CLE. That’s the last level. If Horford continues his playoff tear against Thompson and Love and plays a major role in helping the Celtics advance, that’s it. The haters will finally have to admit defeat. If he once again struggles, things don’t look all that great for the other side. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.
Wouldn’t be the first Celtic to cuck Lebron
Love your stuff man, what do you think we can expect out of Mook this series? Do you see anything in the Cavs matchup that will get him out of his slump? – Bob
I’m not sure there is a Celtic out there with more pressure than Mook this series. Maybe Horford, but that’s it. He certainly hasn’t helped himself, saying stuff like this today
Defensively he’s going to get the first crack at Lebron, and on the other end if the Celts can’t figure out a way to get Mook’s efficient offense back, they’re going to have trouble. The reason I believe Morris is so important is because I think Lebron spends a lot of time on Tatum, which means we may not see as many 20+ nights from our main scoring option. That means the Celtics won’t be able to afford these like 3-12 performances from Morris. So how do they get him going? Try and go to what he does well. Get him in the post, use him as a screener to get him wide open looks, and do everything you possibly can to limit his isolation opportunities.
If Lebron is going to take Tatum, I guess that means either JR or Korver will match up with Morris on the other end. I suggest the Celtics do everything they can to exploit that matchup. Both those guys have been pretty brutal on the defensive end for the past two weeks, and I think Mook could use his size to get some easy buckets. Once he does that and he’s feeling it, let him take those midrange isos. It’s starting with those that are usually the problem.
I’m already have cold sweats about Kevin Love shooting 67% from 3, so I am wondering who you think Stevens puts on him? Could we possibly see a world where Semi starts to matchup with him? – Matt
I too share that same concern Matt. Let’s be honest, the way Love shot the ball in last year’s ECF was absolute bullshit. Nearly 5 3PM and 53% a night is not who he is. He’s a legit outside threat, but that was insane. The problem is even if you trim that down to a VERY respectable 2.5 3PM on like 44% shooting, the Cavs would still be very tough to beat. The problem with Love is that he has no problem taking shorter players to the block, and while Semi is a great defender, he may be too short. I think we’ll see a lot of Horford on Love, maybe even some Tatum at times.
I think Brad will honestly try and throw the kitchen sink at Love, because if you can limit him it doesn’t really matter what Lebron does. Chances are he won’t shoot from the outside like last year again, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t be effective. Look at his last few games against the Raptors and you’ll see Love is playing great. So maybe the answer to slowing down Love is really to go with the strategy they have all year. Do it collectively.
I wrote to you before the Philly series about how Lebron owns the celtics in the Garden. Is it a coincidence that he is coming to town just a few weeks later? You tell me.
I hypothesized that Lebron thrives on the hate in Boston, and that we should chill on the relentless booing to see if he is thrown off. Since that will never happen, I figured I’d talk about a more practical way of slowing him down.
In the Bucks series we went small and started Semi to guard Giannis. I think we should go right back to that, and have Semi guard Lebron to start the game. Semi is both big and fast enough to cover Lebron, and the experience of covering Giannis should be helpful. This way we can play Baynes off the bench to contain Thompson on the glass. We can also hopefully avoid getting Jaylen/Tatum in early foul trouble from guarding Lebron with this tactic. Thoughts?
Keep up the grind, your Celtics coverage is the best on the internet. – Ben
Listen, is it crazy to think we could see a lot of Semi at the three/four? Even if it’s just to foul Lebron, he certainly has strength and defensive discipline to make you wonder. Guarding Giannis and Lebron are a little different, as the main thing you have to deal with Lebron is his sheer strength. He just goes right through you. Brad has shown he trusts Semi, and honestly I don’t hate the move. I’d much rather have Semi guarding Lebron than Love if that makes any sense. Semi is pushing a nice 235, which is decent against Lebron’s 250.
Or Brad just unleashes Yabu and Lebron doesn’t score a single point the entire series. His choice.
With the way Terry Rozier and Smart have been playing lately is the idea of trading Kyrie for Kawhi really that crazy. It would leave then will some insane possibilities in terms of wings and they could maybe rival Golden States death lineup as well as having a guy who has stop Lebron before. – Sean
Sean I say this in the nicest way possible, and mean no disrespect whatsoever. Shut the fuck up.
And that’ll do it. Hopefully this has helped take up some time and get you through the home stretch until Game 1. Thanks to everyone who wrote/tweeted in, I’ll see you all next week. Oh and if you still need more help, here you go