Boston Celtics

Strus trolls Boston fans by wearing Panthers jersey to Celtics-Cavs Game 5

Strus seems to be embracing the villain role in the Celtics-Cavs series.

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Max Strus is hoping his squad can do what the Florida Panthers did to a Boston team last season: win a playoff series after trailing 3-1.

The Panthers trailed the heavily favored Boston Bruins 3-1 in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they pulled off the upset by winning the last three games of the series, including Games 5 and 7 in Boston. (The B's and Panthers are currently playing each other in the second round of the 2024 playoffs).

The Cavaliers trail the Boston Celtics 3-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinals series entering Game 5 at TD Garden on Wednesday night. Not only are the Celtics a more talented and deeper team than the Cavs, but Cleveland also might be without its best player, Donovan Mitchell, for a second straight game. He is reportedly not expected to play in Game 5 due to a calf injury.

The odds are stacked against the Cavs, but that didn't stop Strus -- who played for the Miami Heat the three previous seasons -- from walking into the Garden wearing a Panthers jersey with his name and "31" on the back.

Caleb Martin also wore a Panthers jersey to TD Garden for Game 5 of the Miami Heat's first-round series against the Celtics a few weeks ago. The C's led that series 3-1 at the time and eliminated the Heat with a dominant 34-point victory.

Strus gave his best performance of the Celtics-Cavs series in Game 4 when he scored 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from 3-point range, along with seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

The Cavaliers likely will need a similar effort from Strus in Game 5 to extend the series to a Game 6 back in Cleveland.

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