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LeBron: No overlooking Boston despite Cavs entering as heavy favorites

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 17, 2015

INDEPENDENCE: The Cavaliers will enter the playoffs as favorites to win a championship and heavy favorites to eliminate the Boston Celtics quickly, but LeBron James isn’t concerned about the Cavs dismissing the Celtics too quickly.

“There will be no overlooking Boston, no matter what the records are,” James said. “Everyone’s 0-0 when you get to this point, so our whole game plan right now is giving ourselves a chance to win the game.”

James’ history is proof he means it. His teams are 24-3 during first rounds the last six years and none of those series have extended beyond five games. The Celtics went 40-42 during the regular season and enter Sunday as 11-point underdogs.

The Cavs begin these playoffs as the heavy favorites to win the East, according to the online gambling site Bovada, and tied with the Golden State Warriors at 11/5 odds to win their first championship in franchise history.

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Podcast: Previewing the 2015 NBA Playoffs and the Cleveland Cavaliers with Jason Lloyd

By Dan Kadar Published: April 17, 2015
Heat Cavaliers Basket_Kada

Akron Beacon Journal and Cavs beat writer Jason Lloyd looks ahead to the start of the NBA Playoffs. Beginning on Sunday the Cleveland Cavaliers face a familiar foe in the Boston Celtics. Should anything about Boston scare Cleveland? Will this series be a sweep? On this week's podcast, Jason explains why the Cavs, led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, are playing at their peak at the exact right time.

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Cavs 113, Wizards 108; Jason Lloyd's 18 final thoughts on the upcoming postseason

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 16, 2015

CLEVELAND: Eighteen thoughts for 18 points from Iman Shumpert in a 113-108 overtime victory against the Washington Wizards…

1. When we walked into the locker room prior to tonight’s game, J.R. Smith was on the floor asking Brendan Haywood about forfeits in the NBA. Tells you a little something about where the Cavs’ minds were entering this one.

MORE: Cavs playoff schedule with TV and times

2. The Cavs made it out healthy and Kyrie Irving played 18 minutes without his hip really bothering him. Or if it did, he wasn’t about to let on. Regardless, this was a best-case scenario for a game that didn’t matter.

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Cavs-Celtics first round times, TV listings

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 16, 2015

Game 1 – Sun, April 19 Boston at Cleveland, 3 p.m. (ABC)

Game 2 – Tue, April 21 Boston at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (TNT)

Game 3 – Thu, April 23 Cleveland at Boston, 7 p.m. (TNT)

Game 4 – Sun, April 26 Cleveland at Boston, 1 p.m. (ABC)

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Cavs survive for 113-108 overtime win against Wizards, begin preparations for Celtics and playoffs

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 16, 2015

CLEVELAND: J.R. Smith laid on the floor of the locker room prior to Wednesday’s game asking Brendan Haywood about the possibility of a forfeit. That’s how much interest the Cavs had in this 113-110 overtime win against the Washington Wizards.

For the first time in five years, the Cavs have much more pressing matters, such as a first-round series with the Boston Celtics.

LeBron James sat Wednesday’s finale and the rest of the starters played limited minutes. None of the typical starters played the second half. That was the plan all along. It was a good sign for Kyrie Irving, who left Monday’s win over the Pistons early with discomfort in his right hip. Irving had nine points and seven assists in 18 minutes before departing healthy at the half. At this point, it’s all that mattered.

“Give everybody a chance to play,” coach David Blatt said before the game. “Hopefully play hard and play well.”

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LeBron James triple-double keys 109-97 win over Pistons; Irving leaves early with hip tightness

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 13, 2015

CLEVELAND – Cavs forward LeBron James had 21 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season and Cleveland beat the Detroit Pistons 109-97 Monday in what is expected to be their final full roster tune-up prior to the postseason.

The Cavs certainly look ready for the playoffs, provided they make it there healthy. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving did not play in the second half Monday with what the team described as tightness in his right hip. He had 12 points and three assists before he was pulled him for precautionary reasons.

This was Irving’s first game in five days. He sat Friday’s home game against the Boston Celtics because of his hip and coach David Blatt rested most of his starters during Sunday’s loss at Boston. The team doesn’t seem overly concerned about Irving, who has already appeared in a career-high 74 games with a full postseason schedule still to come. A key injury might be all that can slow this team, which will enter the playoffs second in the East.

“It will take a great performance to beat them,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “If you’re going to play big, they’ve got three guys. If you downsize, LeBron can guard all five positions. There aren’t a lot of holes there.”

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Celtics 99, Cavs 90: Jason Lloyd's 29 thoughts on Miller time, Shaqtin' a Feud and heavenly marinara

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 11, 2015
Turner, Evan no look pass

CLEVELAND: Twenty-nine thoughts for Brandon Bass’ 29 minutes in a 99-90 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday…

1. I was leaving Cleveland Clinic Courts last week when Mike Miller was pulling out of the parking lot in his pickup truck. I was on the phone and not paying attention when he rolled down the window and shouted, “Don’t give up on me! It’s looking bleak, but there’s still time!”

MORECeltics 99, Cavaliers 90: Celtics end short-handed Cavs’ 18-game home winning streak

2. Miller flashed his trademark smile, rolled up the window and pulled away. It was in obvious reference to our conversation a few weeks ago when I told him I’ve stuck my neck out throughout the season by insisting Miller was going to win the Cavs a playoff game at some point this spring.

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Celtics hand Cavs 99-90 loss, end 18-game home winning streak after Blatt rests starters in fourth

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 10, 2015

CLEVELAND: Marcus Smart scored 19 points, forward Evan Turner passed for a career-high 13 assists and the Boston Celtics maintained their hold on the seventh seed in the Eastern with a 99-90 victory Friday night against the short-handed Cavaliers, ending the Cavs’ 18-game home winning streak.

The Cavaliers played the game without guards Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, who were resting injuries. Irving sat with a right hip that was bothering him at the morning shootaround, while Shumpert was resting a bruised thigh. The Cavs officially called Shumpert’s injury a right quad contusion, but neither his injury nor Irving’s are considered serious.

The Cavs have nothing left to gain during the regular season, having already won the Central Division and clinched the second seed in the East. As a result, coach David Blatt rested most of his starters in the fourth quarter, allowing the Celtics to escape after they blew a 16-point lead in the third quarter.

The Cavs looked lethargic and disinterested at the start, allowing the Celtics to race out to a 16-4 lead. They maintained a 54-40 lead at the break and pushed the lead to 16 early in the third quarter before the Cavs came roaring back.

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Pregame: Celtics at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 10, 2015
Celtics logo players blur by

Time: 7:30 p.m.; Place: Quicken Loans Arena


Radio: WTAM 1100-AM, WAKR 1590-AM, WHBC 1480-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM,   La Mega 87.7-FM (Spanish)

Injury report: Cavs - Anderson Varejao (Achilles) out; Iman Shumpert (quad) questionable; Celtics - None.

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