In anticipation of opening night in Cleveland, the Red’s Army staff will make their predictions for how the 17-18 season will transpire. Today, one day after the Red Sox left Fenway Park for the last time, we’ll consider the end-point for the Celtics. Will they make it out of the east and back into the NBA finals for the first time since the 09-10 season? Will they get back to the Eastern Conference Finals again? Are they bound to disappoint and bow out early? Our six staff members that made predictions all made them with one opponent (and one player in mind). I’m sure you can guess whom that is.
John Karalis — Eastern Conference Finals
As much as I want to believe they will take that next step and beat the Cavs, I don’t think LeBron is ready to abdicate his throne. A healthy and motivated Isaiah Thomas will give the Cavs essentially what Kyrie Irving did last season. Meanwhile the young Celtics bench isn’t quite ready for this moment. It will be a much better series this year, but I just can’t bring myself to bet against LeBron and the Cavs just yet.
Mike Dynon — Lose in the NBA Finals
Why the hell not? Lebron can’t make the finals indefinitely. The Cs have upgraded their talent over last season and Kyrie is extremely motivated.
Ben Mark — Eastern Conference Finals
Same end-point as last year, but again, I think it’s going to feel different. The Celtics will not just be a welcome mat to the Finals for the Cavs this post-season. There will be no 50-point defeats at a silent and deflated TD Garden. This will be a 6-7 game series with fascinating subplots and will come after another epic Celtics/Wizards slugfest in the Eastern Conference Semis. The 17-18 Celtics will get one step closer to dethroning the Cavs, who after this season, won’t sniff the Finals stage again for a long, long time.
KJ Kourafas — Lose in the NBA Finals
The Kardashian Curse, IT’s injury, Boston’s coaching, and a little bit of wishful thinking has me believing the Celtics will make it to the Finals. The Cavs may have the better roster, but a combination of factors will result in the Celtics shocking the East and reaching the Finals.
Liam Green — Eastern Conference Finals
LeBron James is still LeBron James. But I do think they’ll make a much tougher out than last year. Tough 6 or 7 game series.