The Boston Celtics trail in this best of seven series 0-2, but NBA oddsmakers are giving the Celtics a fighting chance in NBA daily odds, setting the line 5.5-points in favor of the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics were considered a long-shot to make the postseason this year and snagging a Game 3 victory would be huge for the franchise. The over/under total is set at 204, and to understand how to bet these odds see our NBA odds explained.
The Cavs won game 2 99-91 in a game that was close the entire way. The Celtics got 22 off the bench from sixth man Isaiah Thomas, who hit 6 of 14 from the floor and a perfect 10 of 10 from the stripe, while also dishing out seven assists. Aside from Thomas, the C’s put four other players in double figures, including Jared Sullinger’s 14 off the bench. The Celtics got 51 points from its bench, which was 11 more than its starting five produced. Brandon Bass had an off game, missing all six looks, including three at the rim.
The Cavs were able to milk big games out of its two main stars Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. James led Cavs scorers with 30, while falling just one rebound and three assists shy of a triple double. James had six turnovers and the Cavs committed 18 miscues in the game, but the defense was on point, holding the Celtics to 38.8 percent shooting and allowing just six threes (in 22 attempts no less).
The Cavaliers got solid production from Timofey Mozgov, but Kevin Love’s inconsistency reared its ugly head again: After a big Game 1 double double he shot just 3 of 8 from the floor for 13 points while missing four of his five threes and snagging just six boards in the game. Love had two of the starting front court’s nine blocks, but it was Mozgov who had five rejections and changed a multitude of Irving looks at the rim, forcing misses.
The Cavs are going to need more from Love in upcoming rounds but are far better than Boston, so his struggles can be endured in this opening round. James and Irving are almost givens when it comes to having big games, but Love has looked like a shadow of the offensive beast he was while with Minnesota. “Timberwolves Love” would never quietly take just eight shots and passively stand around on the offensive end, so it’s tough to say what can light a fire under Love before it is too late.
Tristan Thompson did not attempt a single field goal in 26 minutes of play either, even despite having five offensive rebounds. With Love and Thompson not producing, the Cavs will have a lot of trouble defeating the Bulls and Hawks, while Washington or Toronto also sports an outside chance.
Granted the Cavs achieved the No. 2 spot in the postseason behind an entire mediocre season from Love, but the Hawks spread their offense evenly and are efficient enough to get good shots even with Mozgov clogging the paint and James roaming defensively. The Celtics are entirely consumed with it, but the team could get a victory considering how well home teams have done in the postseason (14-3 SU). The Cavs were just 22-19 on the road this season, while the Celtics were a game above .500 at the TD Garden.
Boston ended the season on a six-game winning streak, so getting back to playing that kind of basketball may be enough to allow the C’s to steal a game. This series is unlikely to go beyond five games, but a ‘W’ tonight would speak volumes about the “no tank” that the Celtics have shown this year. With the accrual of draft picks, the team will be positioned to take the next steps as the upcoming seasons unfold.