Boston Celtics: Chris Mannix gives C’s shot at taking out Lebron and the Cavs

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

If the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers meet again in the Eastern Conference finals, one NBA insider believes the team in green can beat the Cavs in a seven-game series. 

Don’t worry about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  That is what some NBA experts say in regard to the defending Eastern Conference champions and their up-and-down play on the court this season.  With the Boston Celtics revamped and leading the conference with a 33-10 record, one NBA insider believes the Cavs are primed for the taking.

While the team does need time to gel with the return of former Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports has seen enough to know Cleveland may be in trouble when and if they meet the Celtics in the playoffs.

"“Boston’s threat to them this year is real,” Mannix said during Tuesday’s episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd."

Yes, the Celtics now have Kryie Irving and a duo of emerging stars, but Mannix attributes Boston’s defense in supporting his belief that the C’s would win in a seven-game series.

"“Boston right now would beat them in a seven-game series.  Boston’s defense is night and say compared to what the Cavaliers are, and the Celtics are getting better.  And I’m not sure when I look at the Cavaliers, that I see them getting that much better before the end of the season.”"

Following Cleveland’s blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in which they gave up 127 points, Mannix’s assessment appears on point.  Again, the team will need some time to adjust with the return of Thomas, but he actually weakens them further defensively.

The LeBron factor

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As far as LeBron James goes and how the Celtics would defend him, Chris Mannix believes Boston has enough versatility to slow him down.  Unlike last season, the Celtics have players like Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris who could at least challenge his shots and limit his charge to the hoop.

"“Difficult to guard LeBron, right,” Mannix said.  “But they’ll throw multiple guys at him and make somebody else beat them…This Boston team is better because of their defensive versatility.  The pick-and-roll is the bread-and-butter play in today’s NBA.  Everybody runs it.  Boston switches everything.  They might be the only team in the league that at certain times during a game they can switch one through five.  So it’s not going to be one guy and LeBron.”"

Will that be enough to even slow down a motivated LeBron James?  Perhaps not, but the Boston Celtics can at least match his production offensively with the addition of Irving.  That is not to say Kyrie is on Lebron’s level overall, but he can definitely match his scoring.

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So, if they limit everyone else, they certainly have a chance as evident in the team’s first two appearances.  Not only did the Celtics blow out the Cavs in their last meeting at TD Garden, they came within two points of knocking out Cleveland in the season opener in a game in which they lost Gordon Hayward.