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Eastern Conference Finals preview Q&A with CelticsBlog

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Jeff Clark from CelticsBlog stops by to answer some questions for us.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Jeff Clark from Celtics Blog and I did a quick e-mail exchange to answer each other’s questions prior to the series tipping off tonight. You can find my answers here, while Jeff’s answers are below:

EVR: How do you think the Celtics will approach the minutes with IT on the bench? And how many MPG do you expect this to be?

JC: I think they'd like him down in the 35 minute range, but in the playoffs that creeps up into the 40 minute range because he's so important to the offense. When he's off, there's usually a lot of Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart and they try to run the offense through Al Horford a lot.

EVR: What has made Al Horford so effective this postseason? Has there been a change in the way he's being used?

JC: Horford is simply the perfect piece in a Brad Stevens system. In particular he and Isaiah have excelled in setting up the offense out of the pick and roll. He sets great screens, finds an open spot on the floor, and when he gets the ball he makes exceptional reads on what to do next. He's a fantastic shooter (who added a three-point shot last year) and one of the best passing big men in the game. My only complaint about him is that sometimes he's so busy making the right read that he doesn't call his own number often enough.

EVR: Can the Celtics keep the rebounding margin reasonable against a Kevin Love - Tristan Thompson frontcourt?

JC: NOPE. And I don't want to talk about it. Seriously though, I think the Celtics have kind of punted on rebounds for the most part. They try to stem the bleeding a bit by sending guards in to rebound, but on defense that leaves shooters open when opponents do get offensive rebounds and on offense there's a risk of leaving yourself open to fast breaks.

EVR: Who will defend LeBron, and how effective do you think they'll be?

JC: The whole team will defend him and they won't be successful. If you are talking one-on-one matchups, I suppose Jae Crowder will get the bulk of minutes directly in front of him. He's one of the stronger wings in the game but can't match LeBron's quickness. Rookie Jaylen Brown has the athleticism to give most players fits but he lacks experience and could get pushed around by LeBron. They'll obviously have to send help (Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, etc.) but that leaves shooters open for James to find for assists.

EVR: Who will win the series, and in how many games?

JC: I'm an optimist and hate picking against the Celtics, but I think the Cavs will win as everyone expects. I'm just hoping Boston can make it difficult enough to last six games.

EVR: Thanks Jeff, we really appreciate you taking the time to answer some of our questions. Good luck in the series; perhaps your optimism will survive the first quarter tonight!