There are several axioms that sports fans and bettors use when they talk about the NBA. One of the most common ones: In the playoffs, the best team always wins. We’ve seen notable exceptions to this, of course: Most people feel as though, at the time, the 2004 Pistons were not the best team but still beat the Lakers in the Finals because Los Angeles was so dysfunctional. Since then, history has been massaged, and we recognize how great the Pistons were as a team. But we still absolutely tell ourselves that in Best-of-7 NBA series, the superior team always wins. You can set your watch to it.
And that’s why this year’s Boston Celtics team is so perplexing to so many people. Are they the better team in this series against Cleveland? There are many who believe they haven’t been the better team in ANY of the series they’ve played, and that it was impossible to see this type of run coming based on injuries and the regular season.
Let’s separate fact from fiction with this Celtics team.