Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Game 1 Preview
Where: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
When: Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 8:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: TNT
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Betting on the Cleveland Cavaliers (-4)
The Cavs will have gotten a good nine days in between games when step onto the court to face the Celtics in Game 1. The defending champs made quick work of the Toronto Raptors in the previous round, winning the four games by an average margin of 15 points. The Cavs remain unbeaten in these playoffs after also sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Cleveland is 4-2-2 ATS in the playoffs.
LeBron James was simply an unstoppable force during the Raptors series. He scored at least 35 points in all four games, and averaged 36 points (57% FG, 48% 3-PT FG), 8.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 41 minutes per game. Kyle Korver also had a strong end to his series. He put up 32 total points on 11-of-15 shooting (8-of-12 from 3) in the final two games.
James is now set to face a Celtics team that he utterly dominated during the regular season. He averaged a near-triple-double of 29 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 9.8 assists to lead the Cavs to a 3-1 regular series win over Boston. The Cavs were particularly dominant in a 114-91 win at Boston in their final regular season meeting, which quelled many fears regarding Cleveland’s defensive issues at the time.
Betting on the Boston Celtics (+4)
The Celtics are back to the conference finals for the first time since 2011 as they dispatched the Washington Wizards in seven games. Kelly Olynyk was the unlikely hero in Game 7, as he went for 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting off the bench. Isaiah Thomas was also excellent in with 29 points and 12 assists, while Al Horford added 15 points and 6 boards.
Despite the win, though, the Celtics were once again significantly outrebounded in Game 7, 43-31. Protecting the glass remains a key weakness for this Boston team, and it’ll definitely have its hands full against James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson, who have historically gotten the better of the Celtics on the boards.
Even without Thompson in their most recent meeting in April, the Cavs still had a 51-38 rebounding advantage over the Celtics thanks to 16 from Love alone.
Thomas was very good in the four meetings against the Cavs, as he averaged 29 points and 6.5 assists. However, he’ll need a lot of help from his supporting cast to have any chance of making this series a competitive one. Horford, in particular, needs to step up his game. He averaged just 9 points and 6 rebounds in three regular season games against Cleveland.
With a completely fresh LeBron James leading the way, the Cavs (-4) remain perfect in these playoffs as they win and cover in Game 1.
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