Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
Where: Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, Ohio
When: Thursday, December 29, 2016, 8:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: TNT
Writer’s Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (-6)
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Betting on the Boston Celtics (+6)
The Boston Celtics are playing more like the team many expected to be one of the main challengers to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East this season. The Celts have gone 6-1 in their last seven games, and x-x against the spread.
They’ve won their last two games since losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder – on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks (119-114) and at home against the Mike Conley-less Memphis Grizzlies (113-103).
The Celtics backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley led the way with a combined 44 points against the Grizzlies. Thomas hasn’t skipped a beat since missing three games earlier this month with a groin injury. He is averaging 29 points while shooting 48.5 percent from the field with 6.4 assists.
Thomas and Bradley also starred in the Celtics’ narrow loss to the Cavs in Cleveland earlier this season, as they combined for 56 points of the team’s 122 points. However the Celtics managed to cover despite being without Jae Crowder and Al Horford, who are both back and playing well ahead of tonight’s matchup.
Crowder is averaging 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in his last two games. Meanwhile, Horford is putting up 15.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists over the last seven.
Betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers (-6)
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ four-game win streak is over after they lost 106-90 to the Detroit Pistons. However, there were some extenuating circumstances to that loss. One, they were coming off an emotional Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors the night before, and two, they were without LeBron James, who was rested.
The Cavs are now just 4-18 when LeBron hasn’t played over the last three years.
James should be back in the lineup for the Cavs, who were 11-1 (11-1 ATS) prior to that loss to Detroit, though. King James led the way for the Cavs with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 12 assists in their win over the Celtics back in November. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving also chipped in with 26 and 23 points, respectively.
The Cavs have been nothing short of dominant at home this season. They are 16-2 at home – the best record in the NBA – and are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games. They have also gone 4-1 in their last five home games against the Celtics.
James’ return sparks a 110-102 Cavs (-6) win and cover.
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