This story arc of this postseason run really started before the games began, when it was announced that Kyrie Irving would be sidelined the rest of the way. Irving continued to help the Celtics as a mentor, taking Terry Rozier under his wing as Rozier took control of the offense.
As Rozier continued to blossom on the court, so too did his fame off it. One thing led to another, and suddenly Drew Bledsoe was at the Celtics game on the Jumbotron. If it sounds random, well, yeah, it was, but it brought a wonderfully weird wrinkle into an already-enticing series. What started out as playful beef with Eric Bledsoe turned into so much more, and now Rozier and (Drew) Bledsoe are apparently tight.
Though the Celtics continued to win at home, they struggled on the road against the Bucks. Brad Stevens had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, so he turned to rookie Semi Ojeleye. Stopping Antetokounmpo in full is a Herculean task, but Ojeleye certainly made his life difficult as the Celtics survived in seven games.
Next up were the 76ers, a foe that proved less formidable than many expected. Ben Simmons scored a whopping one point in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, eliciting several comical tweets in the process. One of them superimposed his face on the Wilt Chamberlain 100 points photo with a piece of paper displaying the number 1 without the 00. Simmons played better the rest of the series, but this wasn’t a night to remember for the budding star.
Ahh, yes, the confetti game. This was one that will live in infamy in Philadelphia for a long time. It’s a good thing the city has that Super Bowl, where the confetti was earned and properly timed, or else this one might sting even more. The celebratory shreds fell from the rafters after Marco Belinelli’s jump shot because the confetti guy thought it was a 3-pointer. When it was ruled a two, the 76ers’ staff had to sweep it up before the Celtics won the game in overtime.
It won’t quite go down in Celtics lore like John Havlicek’s steal, but it was still impressive. Marcus Smart started on the other half of the court, but he sprinted across the floor and went airborne to intercept Simmons’s pass and seal the series win for Boston.
Many expected the Cavaliers to take at least one of two in Boston, but the Celtics were able to hold serve on their home court. LeBron James finished minus-32 in Game 1 while turning the ball over seven times. Jayson Tatum, meanwhile, was a plus-27. The Celtics went on to win Game 2, taking a 2-0 series edge.
Game 3 wasn’t as kind to Boston, as the Cavs not named LeBron showed up and shined. James, of course, did his part, finishing with 27 points and 12 assists while turning that plus/minus into a plus-31. Six Cavaliers scored in double figures, and Cleveland dominated Boston en route to a decisive win.