NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game Five: #2 Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 Boston Celtics

2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #5
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 Boston Celtics
Cavaliers Lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
Thursday, May 25, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Cleveland -8 1/2
Current Line: Cleveland -10
Opening Total: 214 1/2
Current Total: 216 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -650 / Celtics +425
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -550 / Celtics +375

The Cavaliers look to finish off the Celtics to advance to the Finals for the third straight season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are one win away from playing in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors for the third straight season. More impressive it would be a seventh straight Finals appearance for LeBron James. However, first things first, the Cavaliers still have some work to do against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers are up 3-1 with game five in Boston Thursday.

Cleveland is coached by Tyronn Lue. The Cavaliers went 51-31 in the regular season and won the Central Division. Cleveland is the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers beat the #7 seed Indiana Pacers in four games in the first round and the #3 seed Toronto Raptors also in four games in the conference semifinals. Cleveland won game four in Toronto 109-102. The Cavaliers are 43-47-4 ATS and the total is 55-38-1 this season.

Boston is coached by Brad Stevens. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division with a 53-29 record and are the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite losing the first two games at home, Boston beat the #8 seed Chicago Bulls in six games in the first round. The Celtics beat the #4 seed Washington Wizards in seven games in the conference semifinals.  The Celtics won game seven 115-105 in Boston to close out the series. The home team won every game in the series, and six of the seven games were decided by double digits.  The Celtics are 51-46-2 ATS and the total is 49-46-4 this season.

The Cavaliers won game one 117-104 in Boston, but led by double digits for most of the game. Game two was even worse as they crushed the Celtics 130-86. In game three, Boston got back into the series with a stunning 111-108 win in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won game four 112-99 Tuesday night to put the Celtics on the brink of elimination.

Cleveland was a 15 point favorite in game four and the total was 215. The Celtics jumped out to a 29-19 lead at the end of the first and led 57-47 at halftime. In the second half it was a different story. The Cavaliers shot a blistering 71% from the field. Cleveland erased the 10 point deficit by outscoring Boston 40-23 in the third quarter. The Celtics pulled within 90-86 early in the fourth but would get no closer. The Cavaliers would hold on for the 13 point win.

Boston shot 35/79 from the field including 10/31 from the field. The Celtics made 19/20 free throws. Boston had 36 rebounds, 26 assists, 12 turnovers, 7 steals and 2 blocks. The Celtics had 4 fast break points and 34 points in the paint. Cleveland shot 44/74 from the field including 10/22 from three point range. The Cavaliers made 14/17 free throws. Cleveland had 42 rebounds, 23 assists, 15 turnovers, 5 steals and 4 blocks. The Cavaliers had 16 fast break points and 58 points in the paint.

Kyrie Irving had a playoff career high 42 points along with 4 assists and 3 rebounds. LeBron James had four fouls in the first half but ended up with 34 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Kevin Love had 17 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. No other Cavalier had more than 7 points. Avery Bradley had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Jae Crowder had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Al Horford had 16 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk had 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.

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Cleveland is outscoring teams 110-107 this season. Cleveland is #4 in scoring but #20 in points allowed.  The Cavaliers are shooting 47% from the field including 38.4% from three point range. Cleveland is in the top five in both categories. The Cavaliers make 74.8% of their free throws and are #23 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.1% from three point range. Cleveland averages 43.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.2 per game. The Cavaliers average 22.7 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 4 blocks per game.

LeBron James averages 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. James is having another MVP quality season. Kyrie Irving averages 25.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Kevin Love averages 19 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He missed around 20 games with a knee injury and several games down the stretch for rest. Kyle Korver averages 10.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Channing Frye averages 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. J.R. Smith averages 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Richard Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams, and Derrick Williams  will also get minutes in the rotation. Kay Felder is out with a leg injury. Edy Tavares is out with a hand injury.

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Boston is outscoring teams 108-105 this season. The Celtics are #7 in scoring. Boston is shooting 45.4% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. Boston make 80.7% of their free throws and are #3 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Celtics are #2 in 3 point defense and #9 in field goal defense. Boston averages 42 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.5 per game. The Celtics are #25 or worse in both categories. Boston averages 24.4 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Isaiah Thomas averages 28.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. The MVP candidate is out for the playoffs with a hip injury. Avery Bradley averages 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  Al Horford averages 14 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Jae Crowder averages 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Marcus Smart averages 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Kelly Olynyk averages 9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Jaylen Brown, Amir Johnson, Gerald Green, Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko, and Tyler Zeller will also get minutes in the rotation. Johnson is probable with a shoulder injury. Crowder is probable with a thigh injury. Brown is questionable with a hip injury.

Cleveland is 6-0-1 ATS in road games, and against teams with winning home records, 7-1-1 after a straight up win, 7-2-1 overall, against Eastern Conference teams and after scoring 100 points or more, 3-1-1 after a double digit win, 5-2-1 against teams with winning records and against Atlantic Division teams. The road team is 5-0 ATS in this series recently. The Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS in Boston recently.

Boston is 8-2 ATS after a cover, 6-2 against Central Division teams, 11-4 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 8-3 after a double digit loss, 5-2 at home, and against teams with winning straight up records, 7-3 on one day rest, 1-3-1 in Thursday games, and against teams with winning road records. The under is 7-1 in Boston recently.

Boston has shown a lot of fight since getting blown out at home in game two, especially without Thomas. However, I think the Cavaliers end this series tonight to set up the rubber match with the Warriors.

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