The Boston Celtics are up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. To talk more about this series and the Celtics as a whole, we spoke to Sean Grande, the voice of the Boston Celtics. There’s no better person to talk Celtics basketball with. You can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanGrandePBP.
Dylan Burd: Do you think the Celtics will wind up winning this series? If so, in how many games?
Sean Grande: I’ve stopped making predictions about the Celtics; they make all of us look bad. And since I’ve said since October that I’ll believe LeBron will miss the Finals, when I see it taken from his cold, dead hands…I’m kind of stuck. But I have been pointing out this…while everyone focuses on Kyrie and Gordon being out…the Cavs may have the best player in the world, and probably the best ever, they are simply not that good. They’ve played 95 games, and outscored teams by 55 points. That’s essentially a .500 team.
Dylan Burd: What are the keys to the Celtics stopping LeBron James the rest of the Eastern Conference Finals?
Sean Grande: You don’t stop him, you make him work. Both to score, which he will, and on defense. Before the series, I said LeBron can score 40, and they can still lose, which is what happened in Game 2. When the Cavs win games in this series, which they will, it will be when 2 or 3 members of his supporting cast score 15-20.
Dylan Burd: How impressive have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown been, and what are their ceilings?
Sean Grande: So Impressive, I think we have a skewed view of the series. Look at it this way, If ten years from now, they’ve both been multiple time all stars, we’ll look back at 2018 and say ‘of course the Celtics were good that year, they had Brown and Tatum on that team.’ But the perception of their ability hasn’t caught up the reality, throw the outrageously underrated Al Horford into that mix, and maybe they’re being made out to be bigger underdogs than they really are.
Dylan Burd: Do you think Brad Stevens is the best coach in the NBA? If so, why would you take him over a guy like Gregg Popovich?
Sean Grande: I’m not a fan of rating coaches. There are several elite coaches, defining that by getting the most out of their talent, and certainly those are two. But first five years in the league to improve on win total in BOTH the regular season and the playoffs. That’s pretty ridiculous. His players love playing for him, respect him, and he wins. He’s certainly elite.
Dylan Burd: What do you think the Celtics plans are for Terry Rozier following this season?
Sean Grande: To continue to develop him as Kyrie’s backup. Obviously, it’s getting crowded with Kyrie, Rozier, Smart and Brown all in the backcourt. Smart’s restricted free agency will be the first domino. Hopefully everyone is back next year.
Dylan Burd: If the Celtics do win this series, how do you think they’d match up with Golden State or Houston?
Sean Grande: Better than the Cavs, that’s for sure. Young and can defend multiple positions. That said, the Celtics played both very tough, even in fact in the regular season. But those games were with Kyrie. My assumption is that it will be Golden State, and it wouldn’t shock me to see the Celtics get a game, and maybe put a scare into them in a couple of others. But as long as Kevin Durant doesn’t go on vacation or join the peace corps, I don’t see anyone beating them.