On May 25th the Cleveland Cavaliers finished off the Boston Celtics in a 33 point victory at the Boston Garden in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
As the Cavs went onto their third straight finals appearance, the Celtics were sent home packing, but the Cavs beating the Celtics in five games wasn’t the biggest story between the two teams in 2017.
A crazy offseason for both teams added even more tension to their respective fan bases dating back to 2008 when the Celtics bounced the Lebron led Cavs in 7 games. The rivalry continued in 2010 when the Celtics bounced the Cavs, who were favored, in six games.
Lebron’s time in the whine and gold would be put on pause after that disappointing loss as he took his talents down to South Beach.
That second loss for LeBron versus the Celtics would also be the last for Lebron.
Since that night in Boston, LeBron has asserted his dominance against the city of Boston. While with the Heat, LeBron faced the Celtics twice in the playoffs and beat them both times.
According to basketball-reference.com, In the 2011 Conference semis, LeBron averaged 28 points per game. In the 2012 Conference finals against the Celtics LeBron averaged 33.6 points per game.
Of course, we all remember what is probably the greatest game of his career when in game 6 of the 2012 ECF when LeBron dropped 45 points and snagged 15 boards in a crucial victory.
LEBRON GAME 6 HIGHLIGHTS
Celtics fans hate towards LeBron carried over to when he came back to Cleveland in 2014.
As we all remember it only took one play for Cavs fans to regain their hate towards the Celtics.
KELLY OLYNYK PLAY HERE
After this past offseason though the rivalry is as heated as it’s ever been.
The Celtics got the guy who wants to stick it to LeBron. Kyrie Irving wanted to go off and win on his own and be the face of the franchise. Who better to do with than the city that wants to see LeBron crumble more than most.
Kyrie has taken his shots at LeBron via First Take and even took a shot at the City of Cleveland itself.
There is nothing LeBron wants more than to show his power and his dominance and beat the Celtics in the playoffs.
Isiah Thomas, who was a fan favorite in Boston, who led the Celtics to two straight playoff appearances when no one thought they were good enough to be a playoff team let alone the top seed in the East is now on the Cavs and is a centerpiece to this rivalry.
Thomas has a chip on his shoulder. He has always been regarded as “too small” and Boston felt that way too. He played through a hip injury and played after his sister passed away before Bostons matchup with Washington in the conference semis.
Thomas will not play Tuesday, because of his hip injury but the motivation and the feelings he has towards the Celtics is something that can’t be ignored and just adds to the tension between the two teams.
Thomas had this to say to Sports Illustrated Jeremy Woo in his recent story.
“I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro. That’s not right. I’m not saying eff you. But every team in this situation comes out a year or two later and says, ‘We made a mistake.’ That’s what they’ll say, too.”
After this quote how can you not be excited to watch Thomas play against his former team when he becomes healthy.
Not to mention the Cavs got Jae Crowder who played a huge part in this rivalry in the same game Kelly Olynyk yanked Kevin Loves arm out of his socket.
I am just going to assume JR and Crowder figured that out and are boys now.
Speaking of JR Smith, he gave his two cents on the Celtics chances in the east.
Despite Boston adding Jayson Tatum in the draft and Gordon Hayward in Free Agency. JR is still loving the Cavs chances.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) October 16, 2017
I am sure this is going to go over well in the Celtics locker room.
It should also be mentioned that Nike basketball dropped a new commercial today for LeBron’s 15th season in the league
— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) October 16, 2017
I wonder who this could be directed towards. I am sure it has nothing to do with LeBron saying he wants to pass the keys to the franchise to Kyrie and all of a sudden out of the blue Kyrie saying he wants to be traded.
The two teams have all the makeup for a rivalry. It has former players that want to get back at their former teams, it has two superstars that want to show who can win without one another. And, two fan bases that have experienced victory and defeat of one another and want nothing more than to be on the winning end of this chapter.
Tuesday night is just the beginning. There will be a video tribute for Kyrie (as there should be) for thanking him for his time in Cleveland. There will be constant camera coverage for how Kyrie and LeBron act around each other.
The crowd at the Q will be extra rowdy Tuesday. If there is one thing that will get Cleveland fans out of their seats its challenging their loyalty to their respective teams. It was up in the air how Cleveland fans would react when Kyrie returned to the Q after the initial report he wanted out of Cleveland. But, after his appearance on First Take and his shot at the city for its loyalty towards its sports teams. It seems that Kyrie will be showered down with Boos in his return.
Tuesday night is just another chapter between the two fan bases but it is the first of LeBron and Kyrie. This story will be followed all season and it will be entertaining, petty, annoying, and even funny at times.
Like previous matchups with the Celtics, they will be exhilarating, and excruciating at the same time. It will be something we love to watch and talk about when the Cavs win and hate to hear about when we lose.
Buckle up your seatbelts Cavs fans because this year’s games against the Celtics are going to be a fun and scary roller coaster ride. Enjoy.