With one more win, the Boston Celtics are slated to head into the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as heavy underdogs against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Most Boston fans would prefer the youthful Celtics match up against the starless Atlanta Hawks instead of the best player in the East, but team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck is embracing the challenge.
In an interview with CLNS Radio over the weekend, Grousbeck welcomed the opportunity to take on Boston’s long-time rival.
“I would love to play [LeBron] in the playoffs somehow, and I would love to beat him,” Grousbeck said.
The Celtics have won two straight games against the Cavs over the weekend, but both victories come with big asterisks for Boston after James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving did not suit up for regular minutes in either game. The last time the Celtics faced the Cavs at full strength was back on March 3 when Cleveland handed Boston its worst loss of the season in a 110-79 beatdown.
That type of performance is indicative of the domination the Cavs have imposed on their opponents during the second half of the season. Since returning from a two-week absence on January 13, James has led the new-look Cavs to an Eastern Conference best 32-10 record. Additions such as Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert have strengthened LeBron’s supporting cast, making them the East favorites in the eyes of Vegas oddsmakers.
Kendrick Perkins was a late-season free agent addition for the Cavs, and was surprised to hear his former owner wishing for a series with LeBron.
“Did Wyc say that?” Perkins asked with a puzzled look after Sunday’s loss, “I ain’t got no comment. No comment.”
One more win by the Celtics in the team’s final two games or a loss by the Nets or Pacers will secure the No. 7 spot for Boston, and give Grousbeck exactly what he wished for.