To say Brad Stevens' boys have overachieved this season would still be an understatement. After losing Gordon Hayward in the opening game and Kyrie Irving before the playoffs both to injuries, Boston was viewed as a strong contender...only for next year. Seventeen postseason matches in, and the Celtics are on the cusp of competing for a championship for the first time since 2010, when the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen lost to Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers.
On the other hand, LeBron James (26 pts 10 reb 5 ast) of the Cleveland Cavaliers is facing elimination prior to a Game 7 for the first time since 2012, according to Fox Sports analyst Nick Wright. His rivals back then? You guessed it—the Cs.
So how did Boston manage to defy expectations and put The King on the wrong side of history? What better way to explain the Eastern Conference Finals than using the language of memes that have permeated social media so far in the playoffs.
There's no place like home for the Celtics, who have been virtually undefeated (10-0 win-loss record) at the TD Garden this postseason. Stevens must be feeling good right now about having homecourt advantage, especially with his team ironically sucking on the road (1-6). Marcus Morris, in particular, was brimming with confidence when he engaged Larry Nance, Jr. at the start of the second quarter.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers were back to their old ways, looking lost and tired out there. Kevin Love was the only Cleveland player other than LeBron who scored in double figures with 14, while the Celtics had five. Case in point: JR Smith has to hate playing in Boston, he hasn't hit a three-point shot (0-11) this series.
Stevens is simply outcoaching Tyronn Lue, who didn't play Kyle Korver until the second quarter. The Cleveland coach reportedly didn't use the hero of Game 4 because the latter's matchup, Semi Ojeleye, wasn't checking in. At the same time, Lue's counterpart is making a bunch of youngsters look like a pack of grizzled veterans.
A day removed from the announcement of his inclusion to the 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie Team, the third overall pick is showing supposed Rookie of the Year frontrunners Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell how it's done on the big stage. Tatum is the reason why Markelle Fultz is seen as a bust, Danny Ainge is called "a f*cking thief," and Boston is where it is right now.