Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Cavaliers vs. Celtics TV Coverage: ESPN
If you needed a reminder as to just how important LeBron James is to the Cavs, you got it on Saturday. With James sidelined, the Bulls took advantage for a 117-99 victory, dropping Cleveland to 0-4 this season when James is not on the floor. The loss also ended the Cavs four-game winning streak and was just their second loss in 11 February games where the Cavs went 8-3 ATS.
Unfortunately for the rest of the NBA, it was a brief illness that kept the King off the court. He returned for Monday’s game with Milwaukee and scored 24 points with 10 boards in 37 minutes. And the Cavs also may have picked up the “play maker” James was so adamant about the team getting last month. Deron Williams was signed earlier this week after his buyout from the Mavs, and according to former and now current teammate Kyle Korver, it’s an incredible fit. Did the rich just get richer in the East?
The Celtics entered the All-Star break with a loss and began the second-half of their schedule with another defeat, giving them consecutive losses for the first time in a month. And with little movement at the trade deadline, some are concerned about Boston’s status as the No. 2 team in the East. Concerns subsided briefly when the Cs won at Detroit on Sunday, but an ugly home loss to the Hawks on Monday in the second of a back again raised some questions.
Trade time wasn’t a complete loss for the Celtics, however. Getting Avery Bradley back after he missed five weeks with an Achilles injury is a bit like striking a deadline deal. Bradley returned to the lineup Monday night and had little effect on the game. But that was expected after missing a significant amount of time and having his minutes restricted. As he builds his strength and endurance, the Cs will have the club that could challenge all the way to the end.
The Celtics have been oh so close to claiming a victory over the Cavs this season. They lost the first meeting 128-122, covering the 10.5-point spread. They also failed in late December, dropping a 124-118 decision to earn a push at the betting window. For Boston to be considered a serious contender to knocking off the Cavs in the East, a win during the regular season might go a long way towards that.
And getting that elusive victory would be helped by a better start. The Celtics fell behind by a bunch when the clubs last met and although the Cs whittled away at an 18-point deficit, and had a chance to win on a three-pointer by Jae Crowder, it didn’t happen. To storm back the way they did was impressive, but the Celtics allowed the Cavs to score 101 points through three quarters and build enough of a cushion. The good news for the Celtics is that they get the next two with the Cavs at home and that could be enough to push them over the top.
Cavaliers vs. Celtics Free Picks
Another trade deadline came and went and the Celtics again stood with the roster they have. It probably isn’t a bad move considering their depth and the success they’ve enjoyed. But the Celtics don’t have that superstar like LeBron on their roster. And when playoff time rolls around, that could be a factor.
Boston hung close with the Cavs in the first two meetings, losing by six points each time, and the Cs are looking at the home court as being the edge they need to finally get that win. The Cavs have a few stars on their club and they come to play when facing the best in the East. Cleveland is 7-0 SU and 4-2-1 ATS against Boston, Washington and Toronto, the three teams directly behind them in the conference standings. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and take the Cs to get the home win.
Cavaliers vs. Celtics ATS Pick: Grab the points with Boston at BookMaker.eu
Cavaliers vs. Celtics Score Prediction: Celtics 112 – Cavaliers 109