NBA Playoff Lines — Game 3: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are now facing one of those “must win” situations, and there weren’t that many observers who thought they would be in this position after they dusted off the Toronto Raptors in four games. But they have run into a cohesive, confident Boston Celtics squad, and they will try to avoid a 0-3 hole on Saturday night as they play host to Boston in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, beginning at 8:35 PM ET at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. If you are signed up with BetAnySports, you can place wagers even after the game has begun, using the state-of-the-art software from Live Betting Ultra.
The Cavaliers looked totally uninspired in Game 1, as Boston coasted to a 108-83 victory, and after an encouraging start in Game 2, the Celtics went on to control the third quarter, and then shut things down in the final stanza, holding Cleveland without a three-pointer and winning it 107-94.
For what it’s worth, we are going to give you a little history here; the Celtics’ franchise has won all 37 series when they went up two games to nothing, and NBA teams in general have gone 281-19 after winning the first two games. But in LeBron James’ NBA career, he has always come back to win Game 3 after going down 2-0.
From a fundamental standpoint, Boston is the team that has the balance and fall movement, while the Cavaliers appear to be stagnant, even though LeBron has gotten his “numbers.” He had 42 points on Tuesday night, but he didn’t exactly LEAD. In fact, he asked coach Tyrone Lue for some rest that the start of the fourth period, and the game got out of hand. Cleveland was held to 0-for-8 from three-point range in the final 12 minutes, and now, they have to be looking for some answers on the offensive end.
At the same time, they are desperate, so even though we swallow hard we say this, we should expect their full effort.
In the NBA playoff lines that have been posted at BetAnySports on this game, Cleveland is the favorite:
Cleveland Cavaliers -6
Boston Celtics +6
Over 205.5 points -110
Under 205.5 points -110
To illustrate how little Cleveland has been able to produce outside of LeBron and Kevin Love, their other players shot just 36.4% in Game 2. This contrasts with the Celtics, who get everybody on the floor involved. And with a reputation that is growing and growing, coach Brad Stevens is becoming a man of mythology; indeed, he is the last guy you want to face coming out of a timeout.
It is a fair assumption that Cleveland is capable of doing better than they have been from long-range. And they have no choice but to do just that – they love the three-pointer, but they have nailed only 14 of them in the first two games. This is a prideful team, and you will see plenty of minutes from the five players who are left over from last year’s NBA Finals against Golden State. Aside from James and Love, there is JR Smith, Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver. It is pretty much do or die here, because no team in NBA history has come back from a 0-3 deficit. Lue, the coach, won’t do a whole lot of lineup tweaking, but he will engineer things so that either James or Love is on the floor at all times. Whatever configuration he goes with, this is a team that is not going to get the job done with defense; Cleveland ranked #29 in the NBA in that category this season, and their numbers haven’t been in any better in the postseason.
We’ll have a little faith in the Cavs here, and when we give this measured recommendation to lay the points, we do it because we are looking for a huge effort on the part of LeBron’s supporting cast, as they stare the end of an era in the face.
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