NBA Conference Finals Part 1: The East- A battle of conflicting styles

The Celtics are enjoying a , surprising to many, 2-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The matchup is a clash of essentially diametrically opposing styles: the system of the Cavaliers that is reliant on the greatness of Mr. Lebron James versus the more all-hands-on-deck approach of the Boston Celtics.

The initial path this series has taken has truly exposed the Cavaliers’ style of play that accentuates the talents of one player and diminishes and relegates that of the other players to supporting cogs is highly flawed and short-sighted. It places an artificial ceiling on the ballclub because it does not allow the other players to be more active participants in the team’s successes , but mere passengers on the Lebron James express. The “others” as Shaquille O’Neal often terms them have not been consistently put in situations to succeed. These bad offensive (and defensive) habits have been formed over the course of a season and it’s highly unlikely they can be broken over the course of a season.

The Celtics with their execution and ball and player movement oriented offensive attack have been able to take advantage of the mistake-prone and at times, lazy, Cavaliers defense. Injuries to star players Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward has placed more responsibility and forced accelerated growth of rookie Jayson Tatum,second year player Jalen Brown as well as Terry Rozier, their improvement not only overall makes the team better but also makes their offense more potent but also more difficult to defend as a defense cannot merely key in one guy. Defending an offense such as Boston that places a premium on ball and player movement requires discipline and an attention to detail that Cleveland has more often that not, lacked.

Being up 2-0, Boston has both NBA( teams are 273-19 ,a win percentage of 93.5) and their own franchise history (they are 37-0 all-time when up 2-0), they also have the playing style and the system in place to be successful in this series. However the Cleveland Cavaliers have a guy in Lebron James who not only is the best player in the NBA, but has lead teams to the championship round for seven consecutive seasons and has shown a capability to lift teams to heights seemingly to lofty for them to achieve.

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