This a matchup of destiny with both teams being the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference. Boston, however, is the number one seed with home court advantage as they finished with a better regular season record than the Cavs.
Despite this fact, the Celtics are viewed as the underdog against the Cavs. This is due in large part to the Cavs beating the Celtics three times during the regular season. Celtics coach Brad Stevens even admitted to the fact that this Cleveland team is playing at a much higher level as compared to the one they faced in their regular season matches.
From ESPN’s Chris Forsberg:
Celtics coach Brad Stevens smiled when asked about the challenges of preparing for the Cavaliers on a quick turnaround and noted, “I’ve seen them play before.”
Added Stevens: “We played them four times. I think they’re better than any of the four times we played them, including the last one when they smashed us. So we’re going to have to play really well. As we go into [Tuesday’s practice], the most important thing the coaches can do — the assistant coaches that have already worked on the scouting stuff ahead of time and myself — is to make it as simple as possible in a short turnaround, which is easier said than done against these guys. But what a special opportunity to get a chance to compete against them.”
We will see if Stevens’ confidence in his team comes to fruition in Game 1 on Wednesday.