Watch live online when Lebron James leads the Cleveland Cavaliers against the visiting Boston Celtics as both teams return to the NBA Playoffs after prolonged absences — but they arrive there by very different routes, and while the Cavaliers are heavily favored in the first-round matchup, the Celtics appear poised to cause problems for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
To watch free streaming video of the Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Playoffs First Round Game One live online, see the information below. The game tips off Sunday, April 19, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
Cleveland has not made a playoff appearance since the last year that James made an appearance in the maroon uniform of his hometown team. That was the 2009-2010 season when the Cavaliers lost to these same Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Except, it wasn’t exactly the “same” Boston Celtics, other than the familiar green and white uniforms. Though that season was only five years ago, not a single player remains from the Celtics team that advanced to the NBA Finals, only to come up just short in a seven-game series against their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Long gone are the “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Also departed is talented — and troublesome — point guard Rajon Rondo — the last remaining member of that team when the current season opened — who was dealt mid-season to the Dallas Mavericks in a flurry of dealmaking by Boston General Manager Danny Ainge.
But Ainge managed to assemble a spirited, and inconsistent group now led by tireless five-foot, nine-inch guard Isaiah Thomas, who finished the regular season strong against none other than the Cavaliers — albeit with Lebron James and several other regulars on the bench — scoring 17 points with six assists.
On the other bench, as has been extensively documented, Lebron James returned to Cleveland this season after four seasons with the Miami Heat, helping lead that team to the NBA Finals in all four years he was there, with two championships to show for it.
Whether James can make his fifth straight Finals appearance, this time with Cleveland, is a question that is still a long way from receiving an answer. But he’ll have to get past the pesky Celtics, who qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2013 despite a losing, 40-42 record, before he can even think about it.
ESPN3, the online-only service of ESPN, will stream the Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Playoffs First Round Game One live online at this link. ESPN3 is free to subscribers of most major internet service providers and many minor ISPs as well. For a full list, check this link.
[Image: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images]