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Around the Eastern Conference Finals: LeBron Isn't Concerned, Tyronn Lou's Decision, Brad Stevens Praise
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14 May 2018 06:25 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: LeBron James defends Marcus Smart in Game 1. (Image Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Let’s go around the Eastern Conference Playoffs:

LeBron’s Level of Concern is Zero

The Cleveland Cavaliers were thrashed by the Boston Celtics 108-83 on Sunday in Game 1. That might have people who picked the Cavs to win the Eastern Conference Finals questioning their choice but LeBron James isn’t panicking.

“I’ve seen every coverage, pretty much,” James said when asked about Boston’s defense. “We’re going to take those same looks in Game 2, if the opportunity presents itself.”

A big part of LeBron’s lack of concern is he’s been here before. This is not his first rodeo.

“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” James said. “I didn’t go to college, so it’s not March Madness. You know, you get better throughout the series. You see ways you can get better throughout the series. But I’ve been down 0-1, I’ve been down 0-2. I’ve been down before in the postseason. But for me, there’s never a level of concern no matter how bad I played tonight, with seven turnovers, how inefficient I was shooting the ball. I’m just as confident going into a series whether it’s a 0-0 series or I’m down 0-1.”

Bottom line, if the Cavaliers win Game 2, they will have accomplished their mission and taken home-court advantage away from the Celtics.

But Changes Might Be Coming

Despite LeBron James taking the Game 1 loss in stride, changes might be coming in Cleveland’s rotation.

Head coach Tyronn Lue disclosed that he is considering starting Tristan Thompson is Game 2 to matchup with Al Horford.  

"Looking at the statistics, over the last three years with at least 30 possessions, out of all the guys that have guarded Al Horford, Tristan is No. 1 in the league defending Al Horford," Lue said. "So that's a good thing, you know?"

In Game 1, Horford scored 20 points with six assists, four rebounds, and two blocks on 8-for-10 shooting, including a seven-for-seven start.

"We weighed it before the series started, but we'd won seven out of eight and we weren't going to adjust until someone beat us and we didn't play well with that lineup that got us to this point," Lue added.

After Game 1 against Toronto there were questions regarding Thompson and a potential move to the starting lineup. Lou didn’t make the move then, but they were also coming off a win and ended up sweeping the Raptors.  

Stevens Calls Praise Silly

While Tyronn Lou is trying to figure out what went wrong, Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics is swatting away all the credit he’s getting for his team’s success.

"It's silly," said Stevens. "The praise is uncomfortable, and it's just something that these guys should be getting it all. We all have a role to play, and we all need to play that role as well as we can."

The Celtics lost big-ticket free agent Gordon Hayward on opening night and then Kyrie Irving for the season so Boston is short-handed yet Stevens has them three wins away from the NBA Finals. They beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in five games as an underdog in the series and smoked Cleveland in Game 1 of the Conference Finals, another series they’re supposed to lose.

If they keep it up there’s only going to more “silliness” thrown Stevens’s way.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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