Celtics Practice Report: Preparing for Game 1

The real Rookie of the Year

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - There haven't been any championship banners hoisted into Boston's hallowed rafters since 2008. "There's only so much you can do".

"One of the rowdy environments", Cavaliers forward Kyle Korver said. "There's a lot of places (around the league) that will be full, but it's full for different reasons".

"Scary" Terry Rozier has lived up to his name in the second round of the playoffs. They're ready to get behind their team. Out of those five, only rebounds was where he didn't lead the team.

"Every time we come to the play-offs he has that edge", Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said of James.

IT didn't play well, especially in game two.

A former assistant under Doc Rivers with the Celtics, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue is familiar with the ambiance at TD Garden, which doesn't have the rats, beer and urine smell and poor vantage points the old Boston Garden featured. That's the great thing about their fans. The fact that they are down two-star players, and are at the Eastern Conference finals, is a true testament to their great coaching.

Rozier, who was instrumental in helping the Celtics brush aside the Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 in their Eastern Conference semi-final series, is averaging 18.2 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game in the postseason this term.

In 34 playoff games against Boston, James has scored 979 points, the most by any player against one team in postseason history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

But that was then and this is now. "Last year, we were a unique group". He started 33 of the Nets' 42 games, averaging similar numbers to those in Boston, before being dealt to the Bucks in early February.

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The Celtics have been without the services of superstar free agent addition Gordon Hayward since his horrific ankle injury suffered in the first quarter of a 102-99 Opening Night loss to the Cavaliers.

"It's very hard. I feel like these playoffs have been great for our group, because the first round was tough with Giannis, a guy that attacks and you always have to be aware of him, and then (Joel) Embiid and Simmons, and now LeBron", Al Horford said after practice yesterday. "They was like, "Hood, that's not really a distraction" because of everything that they've been through this year", he said. "I think he's starting to see and feel that some". We're going to have to play extremely well to beat them four times. They lost by 13. They're not lacking for playmakers or anything.

"The way we've been playing at home has definitely been a crutch we've been leaning on to understand how high our confidence could be", DeRozan said. What if we trade the number eight pick for player X? "Survived is a word you could probably use". That's LeBron. But we have to make it as tough as we can.

Last year's Celtics team got blitzed by the Cavaliers, losing Game 2 by 44 points and falling in five.

Equally important, in Korver's opinion, is one other factor.

Appearing on Adrian Wojnarowski's podcast this week, Windhorst said that the Cavaliers could still be one of the strongest contenders for James. They only ended up as very slight favorites in Game 5 because the line moved in their favor after it opened.

Against Toronto, James put together two signature performances. "You got to have what you want to do every time down the floor". "We know it will be quite a challenge". "We needed to stay healthy". He was also turned in his worst defensive stretch since his LSU days. "I think we have that to our advantage, maybe even a little bit more so than Boston, so we'll just have to bank on that and that's gonna help us". There's been a lot that's happened throughout the season with us and for them. "Defensively, Boston is elite".

IN was really good defensively, first of all. They have a great game plan.

Getting young National Basketball Association players to understand the need to improve their skills and their habits, particularly if they are enjoying success with the way things are going, is not a coaching task for the faint of heart.

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