We closed February with an ugly loss that I completely misread. It didn’t take me long to regret laying the points with the Celtics. Atlanta was hungry and Boston laid a hot egg on their home floor.
So we gave a little back in the last week of February. I was going to take a couple days off to start this month but I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me with the World Baseball Classic and there’s a spot tonight I don’t want to miss. When I heard the Cavs were only laying a point on the road I made a run for the window.
I hope I’m not overreacting to the Celtics’ most recent performances. Two days ago I was praising Jaylen Brown; now I’m first in line to fade. I still believe the C’s are right in the mix with Washington and Toronto (who play each other tonight) for that two-seed and the fast track to the Eastern Conference Finals in Cleveland. They’re even better now that Avery Bradley is back. He also helps them match up better than they already do with Cleveland because now Marcus Smart has a partner in crime to terrorize Kyrie Irving with. Jae Crowder and Jaylen can make LeBron James work and even dissuade him from an extra drive to the basket, or two. That might not sound like much, but every LeBron jumper takes Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert a little more out of the game.
Then again, those are some serious names playing for Cleveland, even with Kevin Love, Andrew Bogut and JR Smith on the way. The Celtics are not on the Cavs’ level and it seems like everybody knows it. Boston will play like maniacs in front of a jazzed-up crowd tonight but I think Cleveland will too because of what a win tonight means down the stretch. If they can salt this thing away it means the cruise control comes on that much sooner and LeBron and Kyrie might get a couple extra nights off. Those guys will be up to play bigger, harder minutes tonight if it means a reward later.
Free Pick: Cavs -1