That the Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday wasn’t a huge shock. That the Celtics did so in resounding fashion – one of the worst Game 1 losses in LeBron James’ career – was. Game 2 is Tuesday in Boston and the C’s are slight NBA betting lines favorites.
Cavaliers at Celtics NBA Betting Lines & Game 2 Info
When: Tuesday, 8:30 PM ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Radio: 1100 AM (Cleveland) / 98.5 FM (Boston)
NBA Betting Lines: Celtics -1 (203)
Why Choose Cleveland’s NBA Betting Lines?
LeBron James rarely has two bad games in a row, which could mean Boston is in some trouble for Game 2 because he didn’t play well in the Game 1 108-83 loss. James was held to just 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting, adding seven rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and seven turnovers in 36 minutes.
As a team, the Cavs seriously struggled to keep the Celtics out of the paint, which resulted in Cleveland heading into the second half with a 26-point deficit, accounting for the largest halftime deficit of LBJ’s postseason career thus far. The Celtics did a nice job of doubling up James whenever he had the ball in a good position and they forced James to settle for a lot of long-range two-pointers. That marked the 9th game in LeBron’s playoff career that he recorded more turnovers than made field goals. His teams are 0-9 in those games. The Cavaliers’ starters were outscored by 42 points in Game 1, the worst such point differential by a LeBron team in the postseason. The previous worst was -34 at Spurs in Game 5 of 2013 NBA Finals.
Kevin Love scored 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting during Sunday’s blowout loss, adding one 3-pointer, eight rebounds, three assists and one turnover in 31 minutes. Through the first 10 minutes of the game, LeBron James (five) and Love (four) were the only Cavs able to put points on the board, but Love got himself into some early foul trouble and was terrible on the defensive end. He also struggled on the glass pulling down just three rebounds through the first half of action.
Who Else Surprised in the Cavs Squad in Game 1?
Rodney Hood came off the bench for 11 points, two assists and nothing else over 19 minutes off the bench. Hood checked in early with the Cavs struggling to get anything going offensively, but he wasn’t the “sparkplug” that Tyronn Lue was looking for, as he finished just 5-of-12 from the field. It looks like he’s no longer in Lue’s doghouse for refusing to enter Game 4 of the semi. Kyle Korver finished with five points, five rebounds, one steal, one block and one triple over 23 minutes and J.R. Smith recorded four points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in 29 minutes.
Lue is expected to make a starting lineup change for Tuesday by inserting power forward/center Tristan Thompson. Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds in Game 1 with eight points in 21 minutes. Lue said he’s still “weighing” the decision, but cited Thompson’s success against Al Horford in the past. In the nine minutes in which Horford and Thompson shared the floor in Game 1, Horford didn’t have a single point or rebound.
Why Choose Boston’s NBA Betting Lines?
The Celtics are 8-0 at home in these playoffs, averaging 110.5 points per game and shooting 40 percent from deep. On the road, they are 1-4, averaging 94.6 points per game and shooting just 31 percent from deep.
Al Horford went 8-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from the line for 20 points, two 3-pointers, four rebounds, six assists and two blocks over 27 minutes in Game 1. Horford helped the Celtics jump out to a big lead early, pummeling the Cavs on both ends of the floor as Boston went on a big 20-4 run during the first quarter and ended the first half with a 26-point advantage.
“You can’t have better leadership than Al,” head coach Brad Stevens said during his pregame presser, “it’s as good as it gets.”
Horford was +17 in Game 1. He was -97 in the 2017 Conference Finals against the Cavaliers, worst by a player in a series in the last 20 postseasons. Horford shot 7-of-8 with Kevin Love as his primary defender. His lone miss against Love was a 26-foot 3-pointer.
Who Else Had an Outstanding Game 1?
Jaylen Brown scored a game-high 23 points Sunday, adding three 3-pointers, eight boards, one assist, one steal and one block in just 28 minutes. As a team, the Celtics starters outscored the Cavs starters 43-11 through the first 18 minutes of play, and they played some excellent team defense against Cleveland, holding them to just 36.0% shooting from the field and 15.4% from long-range.
Marcus Morris posted a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double in Game 1. Morris caught a lot of grief for referring to himself as a LeBron James-stopper prior to Game 1, but he did a solid job of locking of defending him. Jayson Tatum had a solid all-around game with 16 points, six boards, two steals and one block in 37 minutes.
The Celtics aren’t letting the score of Game 1 against Cleveland fool them. They know their 25-point win was not indicative of how these two teams stack up. There was a simple reason as to why Boston clobbered Cleveland: the C’s made shots, and the Cavs did not. Those facts were as clear as day for both teams as they watched the game on film.
“They missed some shots that they’ll hit normally,” Brad Stevens said Monday afternoon. The official statistics that Cleveland shot 3-for-16 on “wide-open” 3-pointers, which are classified as shots taken with no defender within six feet.
Latest NBA Betting Trends
- Cleveland is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games
- Cleveland is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Cleveland’s last 7 games
- Boston is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
- Boston is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
- The total has gone OVER in 12 of Boston’s last 17 games
Expert NBA Playoffs Betting Prediction
I fully expect a much closer game here, but take Boston to stay unbeaten at home and win by about 3.