The Cleveland Cavaliers are out in front. Plus they have the best player. Obviously it wouldn’t be an NBA Finals without LeBron James, now would it? He’s been to six straight — doesn’t matter what uniform he’s wearing. But the East looks more competitive all the time, and J.R. Smith’s injury in Cleveland may further encourage those who wish to overthrow the throne.
Two of those contenders, Boston and Toronto, met on Tuesday for what could be a preview of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. You wouldn’t want to wager your hard-earned money on a Lebron-less conference finals, but if there is one, these two teams are most likely to play in it. The Raptors came back from 16 down at home to beat the surging Celtics 114-106. DeMar DeRozan had 41 points. The Celtics and Raptors are neck-and-neck for second place.