Jaylen Brown

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Celtics playing most entertaining games in blowout-filled NBA playoffs

Alex Reimer
May 21, 2018 - 12:29 pm

The NBA playoffs are often hyped as a time ripe with buzzer-beaters and pulsating finishes. But this year, they’ve been all about blowouts. 

So far in the Eastern Conference Finals, the average game between the Celtics and Cavaliers has been decided by 22.6 points. The closest content was Game 2, in which the Celtics overcame a first-half deficit and bested Cleveland by 13. 

Compared to the Warriors and Rockets out west, however, the Eastern Conference Finals have been a nip and tuck affair. Their average contest has been decided by 25.33 points, with the Warriors blowing out the Rockets by 41 points in Game 3 Sunday.

There are no concrete explanations for this irritating trend. One might simply be the law of averages. After two big wins in Boston, it was only a matter of time before LeBron James and the Cavaliers turned it up on their home floor. The fact that the Cavs decisively won Game 3 isn’t a shock. In the NBA, it seems as if most teams put out at least one strong showing at home, no matter how the rest of the series has gone. In Game 4 between the Celtics and Sixers, for example, Philadelphia won by 11 points. 

Though the Celtics went through the Sixers in five games, that’s maybe been the most competitive playoff series to date. Three of the five contests were within five points or fewer, including Boston’s 114-112 victory in Game 5, which was the last affair this postseason that’s been decided by fewer than 10 points.

It happened on May 9. 

So far, ratings for the conference finals haven’t suffered. The Celtics’ 25-point win in Game 1 was the highest-rated opening game in the East since 2015, according to the Washington Post. Game 2, which was a 13-point Celtics victory, saw its ratings increase by 71 percent compared to last year. 

Even with blowouts, there is still lots of drama in each conference finals series. James always brings intrigue, and in some respects, might be even more fascinating to watch when the Cavaliers are getting routed –– especially since this could be his last season in Cleveland. Plus, the depleted Celtics are a compelling underdog story. Even though Game 1 wasn’t competitive from the first whistle, it was captivating to watch James get shut down on defense by the likes of Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier. 

For the viewers’ sake, hopefully Game 4 Monday is a bit closer than the previous three match ups this series. But then again, there would be few things more appealing than watching James get embarrassed in perhaps his final home game ever in Cleveland. 

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