2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals Game #4
#1 Boston Celtics at #2 Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavaliers Lead Series 2-1
Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, Ohio
Opening Line: Cleveland -15
Current Line: Cleveland -15
Opening Total: 216
Current Total: 217 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -2150 / Celtics +1300
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -2250 / Celtics +1335
The Cleveland Cavaliers were 17 point favorites in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers had destroyed the Celtics in two games in Boston and the Celtics were without their best player all-star guard Isaiah Thomas who is out for the rest of the playoffs with a hip injury. Cleveland was up by 21 and looked well on their way to a 14th straight playoff win dating back to last year. However, the Cavs let the foot off the gas and Boston slowly chipped away at the lead. The Celtics would surprisingly come all the way back and win 111-108 on an Avery Bradley three pointer with a tenth of a second left. It bounced on the rim several times before going in. Tuesday night the teams will play game four in Cleveland. The Celtics look to do what they did against the Chicago Bulls in the first round by winning two game son the road after losing the first two games at home. Cleveland can take a commanding 3-1 lead with a win.
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 50-46-2 ATS and the total is 49-45-4 this season.
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 43-46-4 ATS and the total is 55-37-1 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. Cleveland was a 16.5 point favorite and the total was 216. The Cavaliers hit nine three pointers in the first quarter and took a 35-24 lead at the end of the first. The Cavaliers would expand the lead to 66-50 by halftime. Cleveland would lead 77-56 with 6:39 left in the third. However, Boston cut the lead to 87-82 by the end of the third. Neither team led by more than 6 points in the third. The Celtics took the lead 99-98 with 4:20 left. It was their first lead since early in the first. The teams traded the lead for the rest of the game. Boston took a 106-103 lead with 45 seconds left, but the Cavaliers tied it up on the next possession. The Cavs tied it up at 108-108 with 10 seconds left on a driving layup from Kyrie Irving. However, then Bradley hit the game winning three because of a defensive lapse by the Cavaliers that left him wide open.
Boston shot 42/91 from the field including 18/40 from three point range. The Celtics made 9/12 free throws. Boston had 45 rebounds, 28 assists, 9 turnovers, 10 steals and 3 blocks. The Celtics had 6 fast break points and 36 points in the paint. Cleveland shot 32/70 from the field including 16/39 from three point range. The Cavaliers made 28/36 free throws. Cleveland had 53 rebounds, 21 assists, 16 turnovers, 5 steals and 5 blocks. The Cavaliers had 2 fast break points and 24 points in the paint.
Marcus Smart started in place of Thomas for the Celtics. He had 27 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Smart made 7/10 three pointers. Bradley had 20 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Al Horford had 16 points, 6 assists and 2 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk had 15 points off the bench. Jae Crowder had 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Jonas Jerebko had 10 points and 5 assists. All five Cleveland starters scored in double figures. Irving had 29 points, 7 assists and 2 rebounds. Kevin Love had 28 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Tristan Thompson had 18 points and 13 rebounds. J.R. Smith had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Then there was LeBron James who had his worst playoff games in years. He had 11 points on 4/13 shooting along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
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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 still grieving after the loss of his sister in a car accident the day before the Bulls series started. 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 questionable with a shoulder injury.
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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.
Boston is 7-2 ATS after a cover, 6-2 after a straight up win, in road games and against teams with winning home records, 10-4 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 5-2 against Central Division teams, 7-3 after scoring 100 points or more, and 1-4 in Conference Finals games. The road team is 4-0 ATS in this series recently. Boston is 4-1-1 ATS in Cleveland recently.
Cleveland is 7-0 ATS after allowing 100 points or more, 7-1-1 overall, against Eastern Conference teams and after scoring 100 points or more, 5-1 in Tuesday games, 5-1-1 against teams with winning records and against Atlantic Division teams, 4-1 in Conference Finals games, 3-1-1 on one day rest, 2-5 after a straight up loss, and at home. The last four games in Cleveland in this series have gone over the total.
Cleveland thought Boston would quit after going down 21 points. They didn’t really take Boston seriously but they were given a serious wake-up call. LeBron James has to play much better and he will. Boston was able to spread the floor without Thomas. However, Smart a career 30% three point shooter will likely not make 7 three pointers in a game again. I like the Cavaliers to win convincingly and get back on track.