INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – The Boston Celtics’ bid to upset the defending NBA champions in the Eastern Conference Finals took a major hit in Game 2 with the loss of Isaiah Thomas for the remainder of the season.
Thomas aggravated a hip injury hat he suffered in Game 6 of the conference semifinals against Washington Friday night in the second quarter of Game 2 that saw the Cavs run the Celtics out of the gym by halftime en route to a 130-86 rout and a 2-0 series lead.
“It won’t change our approach,” James said Sunday morning following the Cavs’ shootaround prior to Game 3. “We hate that Isaiah got hurt. Salute to him [for] an unbelievable season, what he was able to accomplish this year and the things he was able to do in the postseason under the circumstances with the tragic death of his sister.”
Even with the Cavs 10-0 in the playoffs and 2 wins from a third straight conference title and trip to the NBA Finals, James and the Cavs won’t be taking Boston lightly without Thomas.
“For us, as a unit, it’s never been about one guy. That’s not our focus,” James said. “It’s always been about team effort, how we can put out the best gameplan to go against their team. They’re still well coached, they still got players out there that’s going to look for the challenge and step up their play, so we have to be ready.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said at Sunday’s shootaround before Game 3 that Thomas might need surgery. The star guard did not travel with the team so he could see specialists.
Celtics forward Al Horford called Thomas “the heart and soul” of our team. He says the Celtics need to “rally around and play for him and our team because our season is on the line.”
Cleveland can set a new NBA record for the longest win playoff streak in in NBA history with a win Sunday night. The Cavs have won 13 straight dating back to the 2016 NBA Finals that saw them rally from a 3-1 deficit to win their first NBA title against Golden State.
Meanwhile the Warriors are also perfect this postseason and can sweep their way through the Western Conference and back to the Finals Monday night.
“I just see 2 great teams playing at a high level,” James said. “It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t go out and take care of business in this game, so we’re both teams definitely playing at a high level and hopefully we can continue that trend tonight.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)