Celtics beat Sixers to book spot in East finals

76ers center Joel Embiid defended by Celtics center Aron Baynes

76ers center Joel Embiid defended by Celtics center Aron Baynes

"Obviously, they took us to seven", he said.

It's quite the opposite, actually. "He's a special player, and we all know that".

The Celtics may not have anyone of James' stature, but they have a complete team that's clicking.

But here they are, getting ready for Game 1 Sunday afternoon in TD Garden, where the Green Machine is a flawless 7-0 in the postseason after a seven-game playoff series win over the Milwaukee Bucks, then a 4-1 series victory over the favored Philadelphia 76ers. "We know where the head of the snake is and we know what we have to focus on", Celtics center Aron Baynes said, "but he's got a lot of great role players around him and some other guys that can really create as well".

LeBron James is on the verge of reaching the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals for an eighth consecutive season, but his Cleveland Cavaliers face a familiar and formidable obstacle in the Boston Celtics.

The C's will host the Cavs in Game 1 Sunday at 3:30 p.m. I told the guys ... you're going to learn more about yourselves in the next few weeks of the playoffs, maybe more than you've ever learned in your career. "The things we were doing in the Miami series, we were not able to do in this series". "With as much respect as we have for IN, obviously, they took us to seven, I think defensively Boston is elite".

And the Celtics showed that same resilient character again after left knee surgery ended All-Star and leading scorer Kyrie Irving's season.

"You've got everybody counting us out, but we knew from the beginning we've got each other", Celtics guard Terry Rozier said after Boston's practice on Friday, its first since dispatching the Philadelphia 76ers in five games. Marcus Morris has not been bad either. In the regular season, Embiids three-point percentage dipped from 37 percent in his rookie season, to 31 percent in his sophomore year.

"I think, in all honesty, people from the outside probably expected not much out of us", Horford said. "I think defensively both teams are playing really well". We were a different team.

The Celtics doubters have been stubborn. So we can talk from like potential, but he's been out since the first quarter of Game 1 in Cleveland.

Brad Stevens didn't receive a single vote for NBA Coach of the Year, but his impact on the Celtics is understood by LeBron. Despite missing two of their star players, the Celtics made quick work of a fully healthy 76ers team.

The disrespect has been everywhere, and the Celtics have feasted on it.

"Bron mentioned just having the four guys from the 2016 team, that's a lot of experience", he said, per LeBron Wire's Spencer Davies. In 2012, Miami was facing elimination when James had 45 points and 15 rebounds en route to his first championship. McConnell was able to get some dribble penetration, can launch a mid-range jumper off the bounce with some confidence, and was the only credible player that could guard Terry Roizer. "Al Horford did an wonderful job this series, got to give him a lot of credit".

Though oddsmakers view the Cavs as pretty heavy favorites to beat the Celtics, oddsmakers don't give Cleveland all that much of a shot at winning its second title in four years.

The King hasn't missed an NBA Finals in seven straight years and his playoff odometer has been running since well before that time. James' production obscures the rest of the playoff field.

Look at LeBron's absurd averages in this postseason: 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game.

Throw in notorious Celtics killer Kevin Love and this figures to be a challenging task for Boston. Tatum took big strides in this round and is showing his ability to grow and adapt after each game.

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