2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #2
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 Boston Celtics
Cavaliers Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Friday, May 19, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Boston -4 1/2
Current Line: Boston -5 1/2
Opening Total: 219 1/2
Current Total: 218 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cavaliers -230 / Celtics +190
Current Money Line: Cavaliers -225 / Celtics +185
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won 12 straight playoff games dating back to last year when they won three straight games to win their first NBA title against the Golden State Warriors. Cleveland has won their first nine playoff games this season, including a 117-104 win on the road against the Boston Celtics in game one in the Eastern Conference Finals Wednesday night. The two teams will play game two Friday night in Boston.
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 42-45-4 ATS and the total is 54-36-1 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 Monday night 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 49-45-2 ATS and the total is 48-44-4 this season.
In game one, Cleveland was a four point favorite and the total was 219. There was some thought that since Cleveland had 10 days off between games, that the Cavaliers might be rusty. However, that could not have been further from the truth. Cleveland never trailed. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead and would lead 30-19 at the end of the first. The Cavaliers continued the onslaught in the second quarter and led 61-39 at halftime. Cleveland led by 28 at numerous times in the third quarter. Boston cut the lead to 92-75 by the end of the third. The Cavaliers led by 20 in the fourth but Boston would not get closer than 11 points. The Cavaliers cruised to a 13 point win to take home court in the series.
Cleveland shot 39/81 from the field including 11/31 from three point range. The Cavaliers shot 28/35 from the free throw line. Cleveland had 53 rebounds, 21 assists, 8 turnovers, 9 steals and 2 blocks. The Cavaliers had 8 fast break points and 52 points in the paint. Boston shot 41/88 from the field including 12/38 from three point range. The Celtics made 10/18 free throws. Boston had 51 rebounds, 33 assists, 14 turnovers, 4 steals and a block. The Celtics had 17 fast break points and 50 points int he paint.
LeBron James had 38 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals for the Cavaliers. Kevin Love had 32 points and 12 rebounds. Tristan Thompson had 20 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Kyrie Irving had 11 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Jae Crowder had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists for the Celtics. Avery Bradley had 21 points and 4 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and 10 assists. Al Horford had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Gerald Green had 11 points off the bench. Jaylen Brown had 10 points and 9 rebounds also off the bench.
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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 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.
Cleveland is 6-0 ATS after allowing 100 points ore more, 6-0-1 after a straight up win, overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and after scoring 100 points or more, 5-0-1 in road games and against teams with winning home records, 4-0-1 after a cover, against teams with winning records, and against Atlantic Division teams, 6-2 in conference final games, 3-1-1 after a double digit win, and 21-8 in Friday games. The road team is 8-2-1 ATS in this series. The Cavaliers are 5-1 ATS in Boston recently.
Boston is 5-1 ATS at home, 4-1 against Central Division teams, 7-2 after a straight up loss by 10 points or more and after scoring 100 points or more, 9-3 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 5-2 on one day rest, 7-3 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 against teams with winning road records. The under is 6-1 in Boston in this series recently.
LeBron James is on another level right now. As incredible as it may seem, he might be playing the best basketball of his legendary career. This is a must win game for Boston, but I don’t think they can compete with Cleveland. I like the Cavaliers to join the Warriors in winning the first 10 playoff games of the season.