Cavs VS Celtics Game 1 – NBA Pick for 5/13
The Eastern Conference Finals features a rematch from last year’s conference finals as the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Boston Celtics in a highly anticipated showdown. The question this time around is -has Boston done enough to beat King James? During the regular season, the answer was “no” as the Cavs went 2-1 against the Celtics. I believe the answer will also be “no” for the playoffs and the biggest reason why is – LeBron James current postseason performance.
For the postseason, James is averaging 34.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, and 9.0 apg. He’s also shooting roughly 55% from the field. Let that sink in for a moment. LeBron is averaging almost a triple double each game, while shooting 55%. You want more? Ok, well, James leads the postseason in total points by 92 over James Harden and is second behind Rajon Rondo with 99 assists.
For the Celtics to even dream of winning this series, they have to come up with a way to slow down King James. Also, they need to contain the rejuvenated Kevin Love who turned things around the last 4 games against Toronto. During that span, Love averaged roughly 20.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg. Let’s also not forget the deadly shooting of Kyle Korver in addition to contributions from Green and Smith.
For the Celtics, they will need another big series from Tatum, Rozier and Horford. With the injuries to other key players like Irving, those 3 players have become Boston’s newest “Big 3.” In the playoffs, Horford is averaging 17 ppg and 8.7 rpg, Tatum is averaging 18.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg, and Rozier is averaging 18.2 ppg and 5.5 rpg. And, for good measure, Jaylen Brown is averaging 16.9 ppg and 4.8 rpg. That means 4 of their 5 starters are combining to average over 70 points and 21 rebounds per game. They might be the better team in terms of talent, but they don’t have LeBron or anyone who can stop him.
Cleveland is a big favorite to win this series. To do so, they will need to win at least one game in Boston where the Celtics have been impressive going 7-0 at home in the playoffs. Additionally, they’re only allowing slightly over 100 points at home. However, the Celtics weren’t expected to even make it this far due to their injuries. They were a 3-to-1 underdog against Philly last round and are about the same against the Cavs.
Boston will do everything they can to try and prevent LeBron from beating them. You can bet that they will rotate defenders against James all game long with Morris getting the bulk of the work. Morris has had some success in the past, but James is playing at such a high level right now that it looks like nothing will stop him from reaching the NBA Finals.
With Cleveland winning 5 straight games, I’m going to ride them until they lose again or until they play the Warriors. Last year, the Cavs beat the Celtics in 5 games. This year, many pundits are predicting 6, but I think it will be 5 games again. With that said, Cleveland has to win one game in Boston and that’s going to be Game 1. Look for King James to lead his team to a hard fought victory and overcome whatever the Celtics throw at him.
Bet: Cavaliers Moneyline -120
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