Cavaliers vs Celtics – NBA Game 2 Pick for May 15th

by Rick Rockwell
on May 15, 2018

Let me just stop you all right now, I don’t see LeBron James repeating that horrible performance. Even The King was due a bad performance in the playoffs and he certainly had his worst game this postseason in Game 1. James finished with just 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting and had 7 turnovers. That’s not happening again.

For the first time since the middle of the series against the Pacers, Cleveland was socked in the mouth. Now, we’ll see how they respond. I give the Celtics all the credit in the world for the 108-83 beatdown they put on the Cavaliers, but I expect Cleveland to bounce back and take Game 2.

For starters, I don’t see Cleveland duplicating their poor performance again. Boston held Cleveland to their lowest point total of the postseason at just 83 points. However, the 25 point loss wasn’t Cleveland’s worst of the postseason as they lost to Indiana 121-87 in the first round. Cleveland promptly came back the next game and eliminated the Pacers. I expect the same bounce back and perseverance in Game 2 against the Celtics that they showed in Game 7 against the Pacers.

In Game 1, Cleveland shot 36% from the field, 15.4% from the 3-point line, had 10 turnovers and were outrebounded 54-47. Boston also crushed the Cavs in the paint at 60 to 38. Cleveland’s starting 5 combined for just 46 total points, 3-of-19 from 3 pointers, 8 of the 10 turnovers, and just 16-of-49 from the floor. In other words, the Cavs couldn’t have played any worse than they did.

Look for James to prove that Marcus Morris isn’t a LeBron stopper, as he wills his team to victory. LeBron’s performance in Game 2 will be more like his previous postseason averages and not this Game 1 clunker. I also expect Korver, Love and Smith to hit more than just 3 three-pointers in this game. Kevin Love led the team in scoring with 17 points, but he only pulled down 8 rebounds, which was below his postseason average.

For Boston, can they play any better? They shot over 51% from the floor, nearly 85% from the free throw line, only 9 turnovers, and dictated the flow of the game from the opening tip off. But, can they hold LeBron to another terrible performance?

Morris had his best performance of the playoffs with 21 points and 10 rebounds. This was in addition to his defensive efforts against LeBron. I don’t see him duplicating this in Game 2. LeBron will figure out a way to beat Morris and the Celtics defense. Cleveland will also need to figure out how to slow down Al Horford who had 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and 6 assists. His all-around solid performance was lost in the hoopla of how Boston shut down the Cavs and King James.

The Cavs are still 15-5 SU against the Celtics in their last 20 games, 11-5 SU on Tuesday nights, 15-8 SU against the Atlantic division, and 2-0 SU when trailing in the playoffs. They’re also 6-3 ATS in their last 9 road games and 15-8 ATS as the underdog. The Celtics are 2-3 ATS after allowing a team to score 85 points or less in the previous game, 4-4 SU when leading a playoff series, and 5-6 SU on Tuesday nights.

Bottom line, if King James has “zero concern” over being down 0-1 in the series then so do I. And with that said, I’m going with James and the Cavs to even the series. In the last 8 years, following a playoff loss, James has averaged 30.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 6.6 apg, 1.7 steals per game and shot 50.1% from the field. He also has 6 career triple-doubles following a playoff loss.

Take the Cavs with “zero concern”!

Bet: Cavaliers -110

Pick: Cavaliers
-110

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