Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
Date and Time: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Cavaliers vs. Celtics TV Coverage: TNT
The Cavaliers are the lower seed and will open the series on the road, but they are the likely favorite in this one. And finding out who their opponent would be in the conference final was more important than worrying about homecourt advantage. There have been anxious moments as the club had to wait for over a week to find out their next destination. The Cavs blew their chance at the top-seed late in the season by losing their final four games. While it seemed troubling at the time, Tyronn Lue said throughout the year that he’s more concerned with his team being healthy and playing well than its playoff seed.
Having a week off between their first round sweep of the Pacers and the start of the Raptors series, the Cavs actually gained some steam. They beat Indiana by an average of four points per game with no margin larger than six points. The Cavs whacked Toronto by an average of over 15 points with three games decided by double figures and two by more than 20 points. They are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six, and they’ve won four of the last five in Boston.
The Celtics won’t have much time to savor their series win over the Wizards with this series starting on Wednesday. And that means less build up for a matchup that has what many are calling an unworthy team as the No. 1 seed in the East. The Cavs are the heavy favorite to once again represent the East in the Finals, but all the Celtics wanted was a chance to prove that they are as good as their conference-best 53-29 regular season record.
Playing on the parquet floor has to give the C’s comfort. They used the homecourt to their advantage by winning all four at the Garden to knock off the Wizards. They also won their final home game of the opening round and are 5-0 SU and ATS in their last five home contests. The C’s certainly have their work cut off for them against the defending champs and they haven’t had a whole lot of success against them. They were swept in the 2015 playoffs and have lost nine of the past 11 meeting with the Cavs.
Player to Watch
Statistically LeBron James puts up better numbers with fewer days of rest between games. His highest scoring average this season comes with zero days of rest and his lowest is with three or more days of rest. We don’t know what he does with nine days of rest since it has never happened. But you can bet The King and his court will be itching to play after an extended layoff. And it was a breather James certainly needed.
Through the first eight games of his playoff season, James is averaging over 42 minutes and that isn’t going to change for the best player in the league. He’s put up staggering numbers this postseason, too. He’s averaging 34.4 points, 9 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor and 46.8 from three-point range. He’ll give the Celtics a different look in this series. After dealing with Washington’s backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the C’s will try and contend with James in the block. He’s the only player remaining who scores double-figures in the paint.
Cavaliers vs. Celtics Free Picks
The Cavs stumbled down the stretch of the regular season to lose out on the top seed, but that isn’t a major concern for them. Right now it’s about getting back on the court after a lengthy hiatus. A week off following their first round sweep of Indiana certainly didn’t affect them in a sweep of the Raptors. They actually played better basketball in that second round series and James was an absolute stud.
Boston dialed up the defensive pressure in the last two games with the Wizards and will need to do the same against the Cavs. The C’s will try and avenge a first round sweep from two seasons ago. They’ve been able to keep the Cavs under control at the Garden and Cleveland could have a slow start after a long layoff. The teams have played below the closing total in the last six series meetings at the Garden and this one will have a similar outcome. Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and play the under.
Cavaliers vs. Celtics ATS Pick: Look to the under at BookMaker.eu
Cavaliers vs. Celtics Score Prediction: Cavaliers 110 – Celtics 103