Celtics' Stevens remains humble as team continues to thrive

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LeBron James has been deflating to Boston basketball.

"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. He'll shoot, kind of a complete player. "Marcus is a big, strong, competitive guy".

"We didn't want to go back to Philly", he said. (ABC) for the Cleveland Cavaliers who are set to battle the Boston Celtics for the chance to play for an NBA Championship. James' production obscures the rest of the playoff field.

"You've got everybody counting us out, but we knew from the beginning we've got each other", Celtics guard Terry Rozier said after Boston's practice on Friday, its first since dispatching the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.

"He's out there doing whatever he wants", Rozier said. In the first round, Celtics fans taunted Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe with chants of "Who Is Bledsoe?" after he unwisely made a comment about Celtics playoff phenom Terry Rozier. "Sometimes you're not tall enough to block his shot and things like that, but you can try to affect his shot as much as you can by showing hands, being long off the ball and being active, showing bodies and stuff like that".

Added Rozier: "We understand he's gonna make some insane plays". "This is a process to get to the playoffs, we did it". He's not gonna make every insane play every time down. We've been through a lot.

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Boston players know they have a tough challenge ahead in trying to slow down James. "It's about the team, we're playing for each other".

Much has changed since February 8, the National Basketball Association trade deadline, when Cleveland jettisoned five players, including Thomas and Crowder, and two draft picks for Larry Nance, Jr., Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Rodney Hood, and the Miami Heat's heavily protected 2024 second-round draft pick.

The 33-year-old playmaker, whose dream came true in 2016 as he sparked the Cavaliers to ending Cleveland's 52-year pro sports title drought, is the maestro of a deep corps of role players led by forward Kevin Love, whose aggressive play has been ignited by a scoring spark. "I think he's going to thrive (in this series)". "Our expectations have changed and that's a good thing", said Brown.

"From our standpoint, I feel like it's been a lot of fun", he said.

It took a superhuman effort, but LeBron James has willed the patchwork Cavaliers into the NBA's Final Four.

Guarding James as a team was something the Celtics could not do last season when the Cavaliers defeated Boston 4-1 in the conference semifinals.

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The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics, 102-99, in the regular-season opener at Quicken Loans Arena, but fell, 102-88, in Boston on January 3. "I remember the first time we played them I was so nervous".

As far as Brown is concerned, he's moved beyond the minutes restriction that was in place to help recover from a strained right hamstring.

The Warriors used their smaller, more versatile lineup to dominate New Orleans in their last two victories of that series.

"I know everybody is curious about where things stand with my rehab".

"I don't think that I would ever define anybody in the coaching or playing shoes probably as comfortable", he said.

When you look at how the Sixers' finished the season as a top-five defensive team, it's incredible that they accomplished that with basically Joel Embiid, Simmons, Robert Covington, and Amir Johnson sprinkled in with some TJ McConnell.

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