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Celtics – Cavaliers

Celtics Cavaliers Game 2 handicapping

The Boston Celtics will attempt to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals, as they host the Cavs at the TD Garden after humbling them in Game 1.

The 2nd seeded Celtics keep on impressing despite missing their best two players, Irving and Hayward. After knocking out the Bucks (4-3) and the Sixers (4-1), they were finally expected to go down against the mighty Lebron James, but they came out guns blazing in Game 1 and blew the Cavs out by 25 points. Brad Stevens put on yet another coaching masterclass, and the Cavs never had a shot, being down from start to finish.

The 4th seeded Cavs were suffering at the end of the regular season and at the start of the playoffs, when they needed 7 games to defeat Indiana, but they found another level in the Eastern conference semifinals – defeating the top seeded Raptors 4-0. Riding a 5 game winning streak and with Lebron playing out of his mind the Cavs were favored to win Game 1 against Boston, but they seemed completely switched off and put on a horrible performance en route to getting blown out.

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Team news: There are no new injuries to report. Boston continues to miss Irving, Hawyard, Theis and Larkin, while Cleveland is fully healthy. The Cavs are expected to make a lineup shift and start Thompson at center.

Lebron James has been outstanding in these playoffs, averaging 32.7 points per game and doing everything for the Cavs, but he was bad in Game 1 of this series. James scored just 15 points on 5-16 shooting, by far his worst games in these playoffs.

Lebron`s performance was surely impacted by the exceptional coaching of Brad Stevens, but he also looked a bit rusty (as the Cavs had a long break after sweeping the Raptors) and even disinterested at times, maybe realizing that the game got beyond reach quickly, and pacing himself.

No matter how good of a coach Brad Stevens is, there is no level of coaching which can stop Lebron if he`s in the zone, so his poor performance definitely had more to do with him having a bad night than with the Celtics shutting him down.

Lebron is not the guy to have two bad games in a row, and he always comes back with a vengeance after having an off night, almost without exception during his career in the playoffs. Also, he actually played rather bad in all three Game 1’s in this postseason.

In the first round he scored 24 points in Game 1 against the Pacers, then scored 46 in Game 2. In the semifinals against Toronto he opened the series with a 26 point performance, then scored 43 in Game 2. You would expect this trend to continue tonight against the Celtics.

Most bookies have the points total line for Lebron set at 31.5 points, which is 1.2 points lower than his postseason average.

While Brad Stevens and his defense must be respected and will pose a challenge for Lebron, it`s unlikely he will have two bad games in a row, especially with this Game 2 being almost a must win for Cleveland. These are the kind of moments when James thrives and raises his game, just like a tennis champion in the final stages of a Grand Slam. Expect him to come out in full force and be aggressive the entire night, which normally sees him scoring 35 – 45 points.

My tip is Lebron James to score over 31.5 points. Prediction: Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers 105 – 108.

Pick: Lebron James over 31.5 points
Odds: 1.85 @ William Hill
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 6.80
Event date: 16 May

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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