Two teams with the same record of 50-27, deadlocked in a tie at the top of the Eastern Conference, are playing each other tonight. Each team’s best player is downplaying the significance of the game, despite its pretty hefty playoff implications.
Isaiah Thomas called tonight’s upcoming Cavs/Celtics game, “just another game.”
LeBron James said, “I’ve been to six straight Finals, man. I’m the last person to ask about a regular-season game, dude. Sorry.”
James’ comments are completely understandable, considering he did call the Celtics “a very good team” and say they have been “playing some great ball,” before expressing his feelings on the importance of regular season games. That, and he’s been to six straight Finals.
It’s a little harder to imagine this is “just another game” to Boston, knowing that James has been in the Finals for a better part of the past decade – and is currently the defending champ. Thomas’ comments are probably a combination of covering up his true feelings about the pertinence of the game and honesty. After 77, the games could understandably become tedious.
Thomas doesn’t underestimate his opponents though, “They’ve won the championship, they’ve been to the Finals for the last two years – they know what it takes to win. You can’t put that past them.”
He recognizes the Cavs are going through a slump and empathizes. “Every team goes through it at some point in the season,” he said, regarding slumps.
His Celtics can’t really relate to that slump talk though – they’re 8-2 in their last 10. The Celtics just beat the Cavs to the 50-win mark by reaching that 50th Sunday against the Knicks, while the Cavs earned their 50th last night against the Magic.
Sure these things don’t matter when it comes down to it at the end of the day, it’s about winning in the playoffs. Still, knowing your team is playing better basketball the second half of the season, especially as of late, than the team you’re tied with and on the verge of playing head-to-head.
Though, the Celtics will be missing elite defender Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder for tonight’s game due to a stomach bug and soreness, respectively. The Cavs will also possibly be without Tristan Thompson who is still dealing with an injury to his right thumb.
Avery Bradley’s absence hasn’t hindered the Celtics too much this season, thanks to players like Thomas and Marcus Smart stepping up at the guard positions. Look for IT to have a big game tonight.
I guess we’ll find out how much this game really means by how the game goes. And I’m expecting it to be a close one, but ultimately without Bradley and Crowder, I don’t know if Boston can win this one.
I wouldn’t put it past them though. After all, it is just another game.