Boston Celtics (65-31) at Cleveland Cavaliers (58-37)
NBA Basketball: Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 8:30 pm (Quicken Loans Arena)
The Line: Cleveland Cavaliers -6.5 -- Over/Under: 204 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Boston Celtics invade the Quicken Loans Arena to battle the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday.
The Boston Celtics came in as underdogs to start the series but they’re right in the driver’s seat after running away with Game 2 in a 107-94 win on Tuesday. Jaylen Brown led the team in scoring with 23 points on nine of 18 shooting, Terry Rozier added 18 points, Al Horford scored 15 points with 10 rebounds and four assists while Marcus Morris chipped in with 12 points. As a team, the Celtics shot just 43 percent from the field but they had six players finish in double figures and they committed just six turnovers compared to the Cavaliers’ 15. Defensively, the Celtics couldn’t do much to slow down LeBron James who torched them for 42 points, but they kept the rest of the Cavaliers in check, particularly the starting guard duo of George Hill and JR Smith who combined for just three points on one of 11 shooting.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked like they were about to square up the series after taking the early lead in the first half, but their lack of depth was their downfall again as the faded in the second half. LeBron James needed to bounce back after a disappointing Game 1 performance and he led the way with a triple-double of 42 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, Kevin Love added 22 points with 15 rebounds while Kyle Korver chipped in with 11 points off the bench but no other player scored more than eight points. As a team, the Cavaliers shot 46 percent from the field and 10 of 31 from the three-point line but there just wasn’t enough support for James who had to have a monster night just to give his team a chance.
Looking at the betting trends, the Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games playing on three or more days rest, 37-18 ATS in their last 55 road games and 23-7-1 ATS in their last 31 games following a win of more than 10 points. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are 15-35-1 ATS in their last 51 home games, 1-4 ATS in their last five Conference Finals games and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
Head to head, the road team is 14-5-1 ATS in the last 20 meetings, the Celtics are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall and 4-0-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Cleveland.
Things haven’t gone the way of the Cavaliers so far this series and it looks to be getting to them as Game 2 was a little chippy towards the end. LeBron bounced back from his poor showing in Game 1 with a monster game on Tuesday, but he had no help from his teammates other than from Love. You have to point a lot of the blame at the Cavaliers’ starting backcourt, but it’s going to take a complete team effort to get the job done. The Celtics are already a confident bunch, but they’ll be downright cocky after securing home court advantage, but they haven’t been nearly as good on the road as they’ve actually lost four of their five road games in these playoffs. I don’t see the Cavaliers getting swept in this series as I expect the role players to step up at home, but it’s hard to back against this well-coached Celtics team who just give maximum effort on both ends of the floor.