Ever since 2010, superstar forward LeBron James has dominated the Eastern Conference by cruising through the eastern conference playoffs, making it to six consecutive NBA Finals, four of them with the Miami Heat, and two of them with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But as of March 28th, 32-year-old James and the Cavaliers fell to the second seed after their blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs, giving the Boston Celtics the first seed. Despite them claiming the first seed, it’s not a major eyebrow raiser because the Cavaliers are still the favorites to make it to the NBA Finals.
The reason is because that lack of elite teams in the eastern conference compared to the top-heavy western conference. There is only one elite team in the east, and that’s the Cavaliers. Yes, there were a couple seasons in which the team James played on didn’t finish as the first seed, but those teams proved to be no match for James.
The 2011 Chicago Bulls with Derrick Rose, the league MVP were eliminated in five games by the Heat. The Indiana Pacers, who pushed the Heat to seven games the year prior, were blown off the court in game six and were sent home. The Atlanta Hawks, who won 60 games with four all-stars, were swept by a Cavaliers with no Kevin Love, and an injured Kyrie Irving. If the Celtics finish the season as the top seed, they most likely will be added to that list because they simply don’t have the roster to stop James, Irving, Love, and others throughout a seven-game series.
Since James’ decision to join the Heat in 2010, his team has been in 18 eastern conference playoff series, and he’s only been in two series that went seven games.
The only team that can possibly dethrone the Cavaliers in future is the Celtics as they continue to build with Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, and future lottery draft picks in the coming years that can lead to either a franchise piece, or can lead to a trade for a franchise piece as James gets older and builds up more mileage on his legs. But, for now NBA fans will have to just deal with James being in the NBA Finals not only because of his skill and ability, but the lack of elite teams in the eastern conference.