Boston has home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals, but nonetheless started the series as a significant underdog. You'd have to bet $700 on the Cavs winning to receive $100 if they actually did.
Forget this year in the East. It’s over. The only question is whether the Cavs will sweep Boston.
LeBron and company have been toying with their conference all year. They have the No. 2 seed because they mailed it in for the second half of the regular season—and it was the right decision.
LeBron is rested, putting up 35-9-7 a night, and calling for alley-oops off the backboard. And don't sell his supporting cast short. LeBron’s VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is the lowest he’s ever had in a postseason, simply because Cleveland hasn’t needed him to go into Beast Mode.
LeBron is a brick wall in the East. He’s about to go to his seventh-straight finals.
When you look at next year and the year after that, although Boston is a part of the East’s second tier with Milwaukee and Washington (R.I.P. Toronto—sorry, Drake), the Celtics still fall into the "everyone else" group.
So, how can Brad Stevens and company break through the brick wall and make it to the NBA Finals? Here’s the formula they need to follow this offseason and thereafter.