Heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, most predicted the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers would meet for the second consecutive year in the Eastern Conference Finals. Taking into account Kyrie Irving’s trade request and all of the conflicting reports that followed, it was going to be the ultimate showdown between him and LeBron James.
However, as the 2018 NBA playoffs began, no one could have predicted that these two teams would be left standing. After Irving underwent a second knee surgery that will keep him out for the remainder of the season, the Celtics were considered undermanned with just Al Horford and numerous young prospects.
Against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, head coach Brad Stevens’ brilliance was on full display as he plugged and played Terry Rozier in Irving’s starting role and expanded Jayson Tatum’s role en route to their second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance.
As for the Cavaliers, two major roster changes and inconsistent play threatened their dominance in the Eastern Conference since James’ return to Cleveland.
After barely escaping the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the first round, James and the Cavaliers swept the Toronto Raptors in the second round, who earned the No. 1 seed for the first time in franchise history. Through 11 playoff games, James is averaging 34.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 41.4 minutes.
Included below are the Eastern Conference Finals schedule, start times (all PT) and TV information.
No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 1: Cavaliers at Celtics, Sunday, May 13, 12:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 2: Cavaliers at Celtics, Tuesday, May 15, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: Celtics at Cavaliers, Saturday, May 19, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: Celtics at Cavaliers, Monday, May 21, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 5*: Cavaliers at Celtics, Wednesday, May 23, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 6*: Celtics at Cavaliers, Friday, May 25, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 7*: Cavaliers at Celtics, Sunday, May 27, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)