If the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t careful, the Eastern Conference finals series against the Boston Celtics might actually go four games.

Boy, it didn’t take long for all the good feelings brought on by the Celtics hard-fought seven-game series win over the Washington Wizards to disappear. When the Eastern Conference finals began Wednesday, it took the Cavs all of two minutes to assert themselves as the dominant team in the conference. If anybody didn’t get the message in Game 1, Cleveland delivered it again in Game 2, only more loudly.

The Celtics’ top seed was an illusion. We kind of knew that before the playoffs started, but that was made abundantly clear by the Cavs in these last two games. If Cleveland truly cared about the top seed, it would have been the top seed. As the Cavs have proven in the harshest way possible, the top seed ain’t what it used to be.

On Friday night, Cleveland led by an NBA-record 41 points at halftime. For a few minutes early in the first quarter, it was a close game. Then, it… wasn’t. If you were scrolling your Twitter time line between 9 and 10 p.m. Friday night, you probably saw more hackneyed boxing cliches than anybody needs to see in a lifetime.

If this was a fight, they would’ve stopped it. Throw in the towel!

Friday’s game wasn’t like boxing. This pasting was so over the top, it was cartoonish. It was pro wrestling, or Bugs Bunny versus the Gas-House Gorillas. On their best day, the Harlem Globetrotters never did to the Washington Generals what the Cavs did to the Celtics. Admit it, if LeBron James tossed a bucket of confetti on Al Horford, you wouldn’t have blinked.

Would the family that dropped its children off at TD Garden please pick them up? The Cavaliers are beating them by 41 points at halftime.

In the first round, the Chicago Bulls complained of cold showers in their locker room in Boston. In the semifinals, the Wizards coughed up leads in Boston like double-digit hairballs. But this is Cleveland, and James is playing basketball on a higher plane right now. The ghost of Red Auerbach can only do so much.

It’s not the result that’s shocking in this series. It’s the path to that result. Cleveland went scorched earth in the first two games, just to prove it could. We all knew Cleveland is the better team, and we all knew the Celtics were overachievers. Reaching the conference finals was a reward in itself for a season of grit and hustle and Isaiah Thomas highlights.

Only the most green-tinted Celtics fans thought Boston has a chance to win this series. That doesn’t make the first two games of this series easier to digest, but it’s reality.

But 41 points at halftime? Dwyane Wade and the Bulls never experienced a shower colder than that.

This series will be over soon. Game 4 is Tuesday night. Unless the Celtics pull off a heist George Clooney would turn into a movie, that’s when the series ends. Then, we can get lick our wounds and assess where the Celtics are.

The Celtics began the rebuilding process with the trade of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in 2014. That rebuilding is on track, maybe even a little ahead of schedule. The Celtics need another scorer (Gordon Hayward, anyone?). They own the top pick in the draft, and they can either spend that on another young building block, or trade the pick for another veteran star. Paul George or Anthony Davis would look sharp in green, if the Indiana Pacers or New Orleans Pelicans are inclined to make a deal. Even then, the Cavs are going to be a tough out as long as James is upright and surrounded by teammates who know how to contribute a little and stay out of his way.

The Eastern Conference still belongs completely and abjectly to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics are the best of a bunch of also-rans, but they’re getting better.

Right now, it just doesn’t much feel like it.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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