Lowdown: James finished 16-9 in the conference finals with the Heat and has led the Cavaliers to an 8-2 record over the past two seasons. This does not include the conference final trips he led Cleveland to in 2006-07 and 2008-09. Outside of the eight-year run from 1982-89, Los Angeles also made the conference finals in 1979-80 and 1990-91. Of the two teams, Los Angeles’ loss to Houston in the 1985-86 conference finals is the lone difference.
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Lowdown: Again, very similar. The Lakers won four of seven NBA championships in that that eight-year stretch. Magic Johnson also led Los Angeles to a championship in 1979-80 and a NBA Finals appearance against the Bulls in 1989-90. James’ only other NBA Finals appearance outside of the current run was in 2006-07. In the current six-year run, he’s won three NBA championships.
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Game 3: Celtics at Bulls, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN (Bulls lead series, 2-0) — No. 8 seeds just aren’t supposed to beat No. 1 seeds in the NBA Playoffs; it’s happened only four times since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984. But the Bulls sweep of the Celtics in Boston Garden puts them in control in this series. Prediction website FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Celtics only an 18 percent chance of winning the series. Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, who flew to Washington State Wednesday in the wake of his sister’s death last weekend, is expected to be in the lineup for Game 3.
Horford has been lights-out, though, when the Celtics get him the ball near the rim. In this series, he has taken 14 shots at the rim, and made all of them. There have not been many touches for Horford that close, however. He had 10 shots at the rim in the first two games — both Celtics wins at home — but only four in the two games in Washington.