Cris Carter on Boston falling to Cavs in Game 3: ‘Their inability to play well on the road is going to end their season’

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In his reaction to LeBron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to throttle the Celtics in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Cris Carter unveils to Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe what went wrong for Brad Stevens' squad, noting the effect of not having a true superstar on the Celtics. Do you agree with Cris?

CRIS CARTER: Man, with this Celtics team, I don't look at this as just being, ah, you know something-- it's just a-- I believe the immaturity of the team-- we haven't seen it at home, but we see it on the road-- and a lack of experience, and lack of a superstar. When you are on the road, especially down the way they were in the first quarter like the way they were down, you need a superstar. You need someone that can go out and get you a bucket, get you a foul, get to the free throw line, get you some easy points. So when they're absent of Gordon Hayward, absent of Kyrie Irving-- that's what you see with this team on the road.

So for me, I believe this is going to be a seven-game series. You know, they-- and their inability to play well on the road-- I mean, it could be-- it's going to end their season, I believe. Because I believe the Cavs can win in Boston. There's nothing that I saw in what they've done on the road-- the Celtics in three series-- and let alone in Game Number 3 in Cleveland.

NICK WRIGHT: There were some-- what do I-- I expect the Cavs to win tonight, to answer the question. I expect the Cavs to win not as easily as they won Game 3, but have the game not be in question in the final half of the fourth quarter, because the Cavs won by 30 despite having the same number of turnovers as Boston, having the same fast-break points as Boston. By the way, Cleveland had 3 fast-break points. Think about that-- 3 fast-break points. That's something that Boston was focused on cutting out. Didn't matter. Second-chance points-- even. It's not like, oh, OK, we turned the ball over a bunch-- Cleveland got out running. No. Cleveland with LeBron focusing his primary energy on defense instead of on offense-- that shut down--

CRIS CARTER: Defense and play-making to start the game.

NICK WRIGHT: Absolutely right. It shut down anything the Celtics had going offensively. So I think the Cavs go into this game thinking, if we get to 100 points we're going to win. Can Boston score more than 100 on the road? I don't know that they can.

CRIS CARTER: I don't have it right in front of me. I don't know at what mark in the first quarter that Boston got to 10 points.

NICK WRIGHT: Oh, right. I mean, it was-- they only had 17 in the first quarter. So I think it took over half the first quarter to get to 10.

CRIS CARTER: So for me, when you don't have a star to be able to try to ignite you on the road, you see inconsistent. And we've seen this in the other road games. Two or three of their starters typically, are not going to show up. And we saw Marcus Morris, we saw Al Horford, and we saw Jaylen Brown. They were awful, especially early in this game.

JENNA WOLFE: So you're Brad Stevens, what do you say to your team? They are not getting a star back. They got to play on the road tonight. What do you tell this team to get out to a quick start against Lebron James?

CRIS CARTER: Well, they got to have better energy. There's no way that you would think that this young team, after that amount of rest, and the way that they had won Games 1 and 2-- that you wouldn't attack that first quarter. You know LeBron and the rest of his crew is coming at you. So for me, that was just hard to see. But it's the pattern that we saw during the regular season. They shoot the ball 38%-- they're not a good team. Even though they play great defense, their inability to shoot the ball-- That's what they went through. They went through lapses of challenges trying to score the basketball. And we saw that early.

NICK WRIGHT: I think the Celtics' best hope in this game is that the Cavs relax defensively, because if the Cavs relax defensively, you can get open layups, you can get easy shots. If the Cavs are once again, locked in-- at least somewhat, defensively-- there's just not enough-- there's not enough easy points for Boston.