Scottie Pippen says the Celtics could knock off the Cavaliers
"I like the fact that Boston is playing with so much confidence."
Six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen says he thinks the Celtics could beat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I like the fact that Boston is playing with so much confidence,” he said on ESPN’s “The Jump” Tuesday. “Their young players are stepping up and showing their leadership. [Jayson] Tatum, I think will be a great matchup for LeBron. I think [Terry] Rozier is playing out of his mind right now. His confidence is off the chart.”
“They got guys that are committed to winning and are working hard at it,” Pippen continued. “That’s what you like, in terms of watching playoff basketball, you like to see a team giving their best effort and that’s what the Celtics have been doing.”
Boston has yet to clinch an ECF rematch against Cleveland, but Pippen clearly likes the team’s chances. The Celtics hold a 3-1 series lead over the Sixers, with Game 5 scheduled for Wednesday night at the TD Garden. No team in NBA history has ever dug themselves out of a 3-0 series hole.
“I like [Philly’s] enthusiasm, I like the fact they changed the lineup, I like the fact they still got some fight in them,” Pippen said. “But it’s going to be difficult.”
Former Celtics forward Paul Pierce, naturally, agreed with Pippen — on both fronts.
“Yes, I trust the process,” he told Pippen and “The Jump” host Rachel Nichols. “I trust the process of elimination.”
Should Boston move on to play Cleveland, like both analysts — and history — are predicting, Pierce said advancing to the NBA Finals is “not out of the realm of possibility” for the Celtics. Although the Cavaliers won easily in five games when the two teams met in the playoffs last season, both rosters look a little different.
“You look at the series’ talent top to bottom,” Pierce explained. “LeBron is going to be the best player in the series. The Celtics might have the second, third, and fourth best players in that series. I’ll take [Al] Horford over Kevin Love. The way Tatum’s been playing, Rozier — nobody on Cleveland is playing as well as those guys.”
But where the Celtics hold the definitive edge, according to Pierce, is at head coach.
“Ty Lue is a great coach, but [Brad Stevens] is the best coach in basketball right now,” he said. “No offense to [Gregg] Popovich and what he’s done, but this guy right here is the best coach in the NBA.”
“That says a lot,” Pierce continued. “Look what he’s doing with the Boston Celtics. If the Celtics end up in the Finals, come on.”