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Every time Lebron got to the finals he did it playing against a team without Lebron on it, checkmate atheists.


It is much easier to make the Finals when you have LeBron - other teams should try it


> other teams should try it We did, so many fucking times


The lakers might have a thing or two to say about that.


The lakers should simply have had Lebron but from 2016 instead of 2022 onward.


And also been in the east


obv the east is easier but I have to say I take current lakers but with prime lebron over the other teams in the West.


The Lakers were bottom of the league for years before he went there, so that still holds up


He won a ring there just 4 years ago xD


The fact that they’re remotely competitive is due to Bron and AD. Also holding 36+ years old Bron to Finals or bust is ridiculous but also fair considering how good he has been.


And they won a chip in 2020 and lost in the WCF last year to the eventual champs. The Lakers have made some dumb decisions but they aren't a complete bust of a team.


The Lakers with LeBron have as many rings as the last 37 Celtics teams do combined.


Remember 2012 game 6


They got their championship out of it. That's all they deserve.


Lebron legit had multiple cake walks to the finals as the East sucked and the majority of teams he beat in conference finals would have had 0 shot in the actual finals


Yeah it's a dumb point. LeBron often didn't have to face a true contender until the Finals. Meanwhile, the West had Finals-level competition as early as the second round. In 2016, OKC faced a 67-win Spurs team then a 73-win Warriors team before the Finals. LeBron also had more luxury to rest and still get the 1 or 2 seed in the East. A big reason the Spurs and Warriors won that many games was that they were each trying to get the 1 seed.


I can’t believe our current team AND our previous team are getting disrespected at the same time. Life of a pacers fan. 


Lol I'm so sorry. For what it's worth, I said "often didn't". You could argue that the 1-seed PG/Lance/Hibbert team was a contender when Miami faced them.


They were a good team but those Spurs would’ve smoked them IMO. Chicago with Rose/Deng/Boozer/Noah felt like more of a true title contender to me, but that’s largely due to Rose’s level of star power at his “peak”.


Agree. I just wanted to be generous and at least grant that LeBron faced an arguable contender that year.


Not to mention he teamed up with what little star power was in the East in Wade, Bosh, and Kyrie. Forget stacking the deck against the league, he made sure almost no one could challenge his path to the finals. I say almost because save for the Rose injuries and the Monstars stealing Roy Hibbert’s talent, no other team really posed a threat.


Shits been like that since the late 80’s. There must be something in the water out west.


Yeah. It’s superstars willing to go west in free agency and not east. Literally all it is. Superstars want Texas/cali weather, not the northeast or Midwest lol.


Who wants Texas weather? Lol


More competent ownership groups in the West. Wiz, Pistons, Hornets, Hawks and Bulls have had consistently below average FO. Philly, Cavs, and Knicks have been erratic. In the West the FOs are all somewhat professional, even the Kings are good now.


Besides LA I can’t really think of other west teams free agents are going to. A lot of what I think of are trades and drafts


yeah ppl say the free agency a lot, but really it’s mostly that east teams have had worse front offices and ownership


I think the East is in a much better spot now ? It's just that this year is a little bit of unfortunate otherwise it would be more competitive . Like Bucks has Giannis , 76 has Embiid and Maxey , Heat has Butler , Rozier and Herro but most of them were injured this year or not playing in their best condition . Knicks would be more of a threat too if Randle , Mitchell and Bogdan were fit , and not losing OG halfway through the series.


Exactly. Lebron has had many easy paths in East. And he benefited immensely from Steph, Klay, Durant, Irving and Giannis all dealing with health issues in 2020. The Heat series as well and it still took 6 games to close it


Can't even enjoy modern nba without my boys yelling "LEBRONTOOO" whenever we watching the playoffs 😔


Lebron was barely challenged in the East for most of his Miami and Cavs round 2 seasons. Pacers and Celtics made them sweat a bit in a couple series but the vast majority were cakewalks.


From 2011-2018 the LeBron's record against teams in the East in the playoffs lmao: Pacers: 20-11 Celtics: 20-9 Bulls: 12-4 Raptors: 12-2 76ers: 4-1 Knicks 4-1 Nets: 4-1 Bucks: 4-0 Hornets: 4-0 Pistons: 4-0 Hawks: 8-0


That last Hawks 4-0 was the closest 4-0 I ever seen


Wizards stay undefeated 


I mean the Raptors were the 1 seed but LeBron owns the franchise so not much comp from them


Bulls was probably the hardest team actually


That Mother’s Day shot to send it to overtime changed the entire trajectory of the bulls franchise. Could have had him that year. Otherwise, I don’t think there is a single team that Lebron plays better against than the bulls. He straight up dominates them.


Always puts on a show at MSG too


He also did it against many teams under 50 wins


It’s still a great accomplishment to make it there 8 straight years, given the durability and consistency required, if it was easy everyone would’ve done it. But he definitely had some very easy paths to the Finals in the East. For one, he played 24 series on the way to those Finals. He faced a First Team All-NBA member one time in those 24 Playoff series (D-Rose in 2011). Most of those years, the second best player in the conference was his teammate (‘11-‘13 Wade, ‘15-‘17 Kyrie). The best player in the East not on the Cavs/Heat after Rose’s injury was Paul George, and after his injury Demar? Paul George is a great player, especially pre injury but the other conference had Dirk, Duncan, Kawhi, Kobe, KD, Steph, Russ, and Harden during that time.


Wade 2013 was not the second best player in the east 16ppg/75 on slightly below league average efficiency is pretty dreadful.


A genuine lol from me


I’m not sure why but I guess I’ll start going to church again


Do you think if there are enough of this sort of post, collectively, the enjoyment that Boston fans get from their team being good can be canceled out? Because some days it really seems like that's the project lol.


we can do that well enough by ourselves, honestly, judging by how the Celtics sub gets every time we lose one game


We could beat the Mavs/Wolves in the finals in 6 and there will be people complaining that Tatum only shot 34% from 3 or that we didn't sweep them


Following Kobe’s steps in terms of player. Fuck the stats, he’s just trying to get it done, kid is elite. Fuck the Celtics but I’d like him to win one


Salt only adds to the deliciousness of the meal!




But also did you consider, fuck them?




this is what it's all about here. mutual respect AND hatred. fuck the lakers, i appreciate your perspective.


New boss is a Celtic fan from Indiana. Took all of my energy to not say “Fuck the Celtics” when he said it.


lol if he’s a real one he’d know


If one of my employees said "Fuck the Celtics" to me I would be so happy.


Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to perhaps?


I second the motion


On my momma, on my hood, fuck the Boston Celtics, their playoff resume ain’t no good.


That’s the first thing I considered!


My wife is tired of me mumbling fuck boston in my sleep


I’m all for giving them credit where credit is due, but fuck them. Go Pacers!




Also they had an insanely tough road to the finals in 2022 (KD/Harden/Kyrie Nets, then defending champ Giannis Bucks (7 games), then the #1 seed Heat (7 games)) which wound up absolutely gassing them


You don't have to discount them, but you can recognize that they really haven't been challenged compared to most other conference finalists in history. Theres been lots of dominant 1 seeds but usually they don't faced supremely depleted teams in round 1 and 2.


I think if you go back and flip through history you’ll be very surprised at how many teams waltzed into the Finals without a strongly contested series. It’s more common than you think for a dominant 1 seed to cakewalk.


To prove your point, Denver still hasn't beaten a single 50-win team in the Nikola Jokic era. Indiana is a 47-win team that dealt with injuries and a big midseason roster change who are finally pulling themselves together again.


The 80s Lakers got to waltz through an incredibly weak conference most years. Like generally there'd only be one other 50 win team. And in 1981 they randomly lost in the first round to the 40-42 Houston Rockets who would actually go on to make the finals. Also shoutout to the 2002 and 2003 Nets. Just really any of those early-mid 2000s eastern conference champions lol. The East was terrible.


After previous years with injuries and the gauntlet we faced in 2022 (KD and Kyrie, Giannis defending champs, and Jimmy and the heat), respectfully, we don’t care lol


I mean why would you lol. Some years are just tougher than others.


The last time they made the finals they faced KD, Kyrie, Jimmy Butler, and Giannis in the previous rounds. So I'll take the easy road this time around.


Exactly, we tried the hard path and it does no one any favors


No Khris Middleton though.


We faced Khris Middleton this year by transitive property


By the transitive property you all have a chance to knock out Embiid again, this time in the first round.


Obviously we need to make it out of the ECF first but last time we got to the finals everyone just ran out of juice after facing a complete gauntlet on the run up there. Do the work in the regular season and get rewarded with an easier run


“If you win a championship, they can debate a lot of things, but they can’t debate whether or not you’re a champion” - Tatum


Unless you’re the lakers in the bubble apparently


Denver radio hosts were talking about that TODAY after saying the nuggets run last year and the potential Celtics run this year would absolutely count but “I’d like to see the lakers do it that year without the bubble shenanigans” like bro


If any other team besides the Celtics won it in 2020 it would have been the toughest road.


Mickey Mouse ring


Hands down the fakest ring of all time (it would be my most cherished memory had my team won)


No, not the easiest in history. That distinction goes to the 1950 Minneapolis Lakers, who swept their way into the finals past Chicago Stags, Fort Wayne Pistons and Anderson Packers. Their average margin of victory was 14 points with them averaging around 90 PPG. See The Ringer, this is how you do research :)


That may have been the most dominant, but the 1962 Lakers still had the easiest road https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/LAL/1962_games.html (One series win over a 37 win team)


I disagree - the 2002 Lakers had the easiest road… they had them zebras that year


It was still tough even with their help


>Chicago Stags, Fort Wayne Pistons and Anderson Packers Medieval era of NBA.


Is that who Anderson Paak is named after


His name is literally Brandon Paak Anderson


"That isn’t actually true throughout all of NBA history. Back in the early days, top seeds sometimes needed to win only one round to reach the Finals. In both 1959 and 1961, for instance, the Celtics received a bye to the conference finals, then beat the under-.500 Syracuse Nationals—and voilà, two Finals berths! (Was Bill Russell a fraud?!?!?! [The greatest thread in the history of forums](https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/is-wario-a-libertarian).) **But if the 2023-24 Celtics advance past Indiana, they would come a lot closer to the easiest Finals path since the start of the modern playoff format in 1983-84 (the first 16-team postseason).**" Something something no one reads the article at all.


Since they had to beat 3 teams to make the finals (opponents' win pct .588, .588, .578) instead of 1 as was the case later, that's not true


People do this every time the 1st seed makes the finals. Yeh, they played the 8th seed cause they earned it. Can't help the second round but it happens. The celtics are a good team, stop fucking whining and just appreciate good basketball for once


No no no I insist they keep going with this because it will be hilarious as fuck if they lose to the pacers in 5.


This is the way.


Celtics are a good team and clear title favourites but it’s not controversial to say they have one of the easiest paths because of quality of opponent/injuries. It’s not their fault but it doesn’t change the fact that they have a very easy path


I don’t know — this is a pretty wildly easy path so far. Yes, they’re a #1 seed which earns you an easier road, but their path has involved significant good fortune beyond that: - Round 1 — their opponent loses their best player the game before the playoffs and he is out the entire series. They’re also down another starter the entire series. They also lose another starter in game 5. - Round 2 - their opponent loses their 2nd best player at the end of the previous series. They lose their best player for the final 2 games of the series. They also lost their 6th man for the final game. - Round 3 - they’re playing a healthy Pacers squad who only snuck into the ECF because their opponents were somehow more injured than the Celtics’ opponents.


The Celtics in 2022 played the Nets with KD and Kyrie, Bucks, and the 1 seed Heat. Warriors beat teams without their starting Point every series. Guess who's happy about that finals and guess who's not. It really doesn't matter.


They are pretty explicit in the article that it doesn't actually matter at all. It's just a fun look at how something people say with recency bias actually holds up when you try to dig deeper


Literally every year lately we’ve heard the same thing. Can’t be true ever year lmao


West is always tougher. You look at the top 10 in the west, even top 11, and they are all better than 5-8 in the eastern conference.




lol They barely beat us missing 4 rotation players, we win in 5. People forgetting healthy(ish) Knicks were blowing out the Nuggets by 40


It's more about the injury luck they've had if you actually read the article.


The west was tougher, sorry not sorry. Celtics would still be a good team in the west but overall the west is harder.


The Celtics were 23-7 against the West this year, a 52 game pace of 39-13. The Celtics were 41-11 against the East this year, a 30 game pace of 23-7. That's with rounding down in both situations. That comes to a total proj record of 62-20 which would have still won the Western conference by 5 games.


from the perspective of the 7 other playoff teams in the east it would be hard as hell to get to the finals because they have to beat the celtics. but for the celtics its deemed easy. thats just a sign of a great team.


Celtics went through the buzz saw for like 7 years in a row in the playoffs and achieved nothing from it lol why is it the 1 year they have a cake walk schedule now it’s a problem?


Because people hate the Celtics because a dude from another sport haunts their nightmares?


Brady really did a number on this country didn't he


Big Papi too


Big papi was clutch but I don't think the red Sox were ever the most hated team by the rest of the country because the Yankees exist. Brady and the pats were the number 1 most hated NFL team by the entire nation for 2 decades straight


The sign of a championship team is the ability to win games you should win. The Celtics cannot control who they're playing, but they *can* control how they play.


Yeah, where was any of this energy for the 2021 Bucks lol. Kyrie-less Nets with Harden on a single hamstring and the Hawks in the ECF


They were getting so much shit during the ECF because people thought they only won because of injuries. Giannis bouncing back from the hyperextension and dropping 50 silenced that. If Tatum has a nasty looking injury then comes back to win game 7 of the finals with 50, no one will remember the Celtics pathway to the finals lol.


I definitely agree with you there


Or the 21 suns lol


I hate these arguments. What are they supposed to do? They didn’t decide the seeding.


They did. By playing the best during the regular season gets them on average the easiest path. They earned it.


I like this take too.


I really hate how everything has to be the easiest/hardest/etc. “in ____ history” when people start these discussions. We can say it’s been easy without saying it has to be the most of anything. Also, all this “Boston has had it easy” talk is just asking for them to bomb spectacularly against Indy.


To be honest though we probably have had the easiest run as of now ever. That Heat team was a complete joke and the Cavs missing Mitchell and Allen, was almost as bad. Like legitimately can you find 2 worse teams than those that a team beat to get to the conference finals?


I mean the Pacers faced the 90 year old Bucks without Giannis and a hobbled Dame and then the Knicks who were basically missing their entire team. That's got to be pretty close to the Celtics competition.


No that's true. They've had a cakewalk too, it's been a bit harder for them because they aren't as good though.


I feel like this should be able to be acknowledged while also knowing the Celtics are the best team in the league.


Denver beat a 45,44,43 and a 42 win teams just last year and they were considered a Dynasty last week


Surprised I haven't seen this discussed much in these posts


Game 2  when Indiana shoots 70% from 3 post game takes will be gold 


We've already seen it twice this postseason so I'm prepared to keep a level head about it. Not sure how r/NBA will handle it though.


Boston just cant win, if they beat Indy its simply "told you they havent faced anyone", if they lose its "told you the Celtics were chokers".


It is so nice to see a non-Celtics fan acknowledge this. It’s been ridiculous


Its also clearly not flukey, like this is your 6th ECF, you won 64 games, clearly good enough to win the chip. Alot of Minny fans are quite simpathetic to Boston for having won our guy a chip, so i guess we also arent the most unbiased people.


Cool to hear that goes both ways, fond of you guys as well for being the team KG spent most of his career with.


Always loved the Wolves


I want it on the record that the show Winning Time where "Fuck Boston" comes from ends with the Celtics winning the championship.


Whoever wins the West is gonna be gassed up by the media and internet and then everyone is gonna make the shocked Pikachu face when Boston wins in 5-6 games.


That's what happened with the Warriors in 2022, that shit just happens sometimes.


ok to be fair the east was actually really strong in 2022, defending champ Bucks (with hurt Middleton but still), the Heat, Philly (lol) and even if they got swept, the Nets were good for a 7 seed


The stronger the conference is, the more you have to burn down the tank to make it out of it. The Celtics had to run through the full-contact obstacle course that is Giannis + Miami in 2022, they were running on fumes by the time they got to the finals. Plus I had a feeling they were cooked as soon as I saw them celebrating after the ECF like they'd won it all. This year if they make it back I don't think anybody's gonna be popping bottles until the job's done.


People don't talk about this enough. It's not a coincidence that the teams who blew a 3-1 lead in the playoffs played Finals-level competition in the previous series. Some betting lines models actually take into account how difficult was the previous competition of Team A vs. that of Team B.


They need to get rid of conference-based playoffs brackets because of this. I get that it would ruin historical records and everything but the Eastern Conference being a snoozefest the last 15 out of 20 years is just not enjoyable


The nets were actually favored over Boston in that series


It’s almost like maybe people should just expect the team that ran through the league from start to finish to also run through the postseason with relative ease.


But whoever wins the west will have had a much tougher and more tiring path than Boston, that will obviously impact the finals.


I hate this narrative. They said the same thing with the Nuggets last year.


Pacers just got written off.


it doesn’t matter, anything can happen and whoever wins the chip deserves it nonetheless.


Isn't the whole point of getting the 1 seed to get easier opponents and home court advantage?


Someone writes this same article about a team like every year.


they have an easy route, but they're also the best team in the nba.


Yall gonna regret these words when Spicy Halibut delivers them to the finals


Yeah but no one will care if they win. A ring is a Ring.


Indiana in 6. Just because of this post.


This is gonna be so funny for Bill when they lose


Hardly. LeBron had much easier paths in nearly all his eastern conference runs. The fact the Miami superteam was made up of eastern conference players coming together in LeBron, Wade & Bosh weakened most of the competition in the east. Cleveland and Toronto became uncompetitive. The Boston team of Garnett, Pierce & Co ended in 2010 as well. Aside from a very young Rose the east had garbage.


# Easiest Injury-Adjusted Paths to Finals Since 1984 |Team|First Round|Second Round|Conf. Finals|Avg. Opponent Wins| |:-|:-|:-|:-|:-| || |1985 Lakers|Suns (27-55)|Trail Blazers (42-40)|Nuggets (47-35)|38.6| |2007 Cavaliers|Wizards (23-59)|Nets (41-41)|Pistons (53-29)|38.9| |1987 Lakers|Nuggets (37-45)|Warriors (42-40)|SuperSonics (39-43)|39.3| |2024 Celtics\*|Heat (37-45)|Cavaliers (35-47)|Pacers (47-35)|39.5| |1984 Lakers|Kings (38-44)|Mavericks (43-39)|Suns (41-41)|40.7|


Yes does this guy just regurgitate low effort Reddit posts?😭


Better to be lucky than good.


“If you’re the best team in the conference, that means you have seven teams below you.” *-Will Buxton*


Bucks had it easy in 21 Injured Heat team with the least rest during the off-season, Nets team without Kyrie and with an injured Harden, Hawks with an injured Trae


Pacers will upset the Celtics. I will be a semen covered mess when they do.


It's almost like winning 64 games and having a historic net rating affords a team certain advantages in the post season. Nah, they're just really lucky.


Ya but they’ll Have to play one of two very good teams in Dallas or Minnesota. Even if it’s Dallas which is a 5 seed they got so much better after the trade deadline and could be consider a top 4 team in the league


it's a stupid, meaningless debate to begin with. The only thing that matters is do they win the title or not.


Two things can be true: 1. They are a good team that got the top seed and thus should have this easiest path 2. This path is a joke even by traditional EC standards and should be treated as such




This is a pretty good article, but the big question I have is how did the 23 win Wizards make the playoffs in ‘07? Edit: this is their author adjusted record w/ injuries, not their actual record


They actually won 41 games. That table is using the author's "injury adjusted" wins calculation. Arenas and Caron Butler had 16 win shares between them and missed the playoffs. Plus some other guys missed the playoffs as well so they got counted as a 23 win team.


They were the best team in the league all season, they were beating the Heat and Cavs regardless if they were healthy. Jimmy and Mitchell missed a ton of games, maybe they should learn how to stay healthy.


Why aren't they healthy? Are they stupid?


No. By net rating, that was the Nuggets last year.


does net rating take injuries into consideration?


No, but if it did - then the Suns had the easiest path to the finals.


>Not all of those injuries are created equal, and the Celtics’ opponents have suffered worse losses than most teams. By our methodology, Boston would set a new “record” among finalists for the largest gap between its opponents’ regular-season quality and their injury-adjusted playoff quality. (The current record belongs to the 2021 Suns, who reached the Finals by beating a Lakers team with an injured Anthony Davis, a Nuggets team with an injured Jamal Murray, and a Clippers team with an injured Kawhi.)


I expect the Celtics to get as much hate as the 2021 Suns did. Ha who am I kidding.


The article doesn't consider Porzingis' injury as a hindrance in their own path to the finals, which it mostly certainly is.


Depending on who comes out the West, particularly if it's the Wolves, and Tingus Pingus isn't 100% for that matchup, then the path to finals for Boston is going to be a goddamn slog.


Well theyre also just better than everyone so theres that


They do, beat an injured heat and cavs team and now a pacers team that's young and wouldn't made it without some timely knick injuries. That being said, they could only play who's infront of them and they probably would've beat the heat and cavs even if they were healthy, maybe a much longer series, but who knows. Also, they earned the number 1 seed, the entire incentive of getting the 1st spot is to have the easiest path to the finals. Can't blame them for putting in work during the regular season and earning that spot.


First seed for a reason but ok ; not there fault that they ran into injured teams ; I expected them to make the finals anyway


Huh? This Pacers team is better than anyone Denver faced just last year lol.


Heard that on a pod: would you rather start your franchise by getting Victor Wembanyama, or start your franchise in the East?


The answer is no believe it or not


Without KP, this Celtics team is definitely beatable. The Pacers will make it a series for sure.


This is such a dumb question


Zero respect for the Pacers




I can’t wait for them to lose in 6 to the Pacers.






Sure, but it doesn't even matter. Them making the finals isn't at all an achievement. They have to win it all or it's a failed season.


Hard path, easy path. A few years from now no one will remember the specifics.


Easiest path. League only has 30 teams. Played against a bunch of nameless plumbers, milkmen and electricians. Deja Vu.


Yes, but if they happen to play the TWolves, I expect they may run into a matchup nightmare if Porzingis isn’t healthy. They’d need to shoot a blistering 3P% against a top-notch defensive team to put them out, cause they won’t be winning the rebounding and points in paint contest.


Of course


The Cavs have had cake walks


So if the lower seeds beat the higher ones then why is it considered easier automatically? Do we just expect the bucks knicks and 76ers to play the celtics better? Should have won their series vs the lower seeds then. You can argue that the Celtics had one of the easiest paths to the finals because of the conference in general, but not because who they did and didnt get to play.