Boston Celtics (50-32 SU, 33-48-1 ATS) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21 SU, 37-43-2 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday, May 3, 2010, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio. TV: TNT
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Celtics +6.5/Cavaliers -6.5
Bet on Cleveland Cavaliers NBA playoff games at reduced odds -105 instead of the standard -110 at one of the web’s best online sportsbooks: 5Dimes.
The Boston Celtics missed a huge opportunity to steal a Game 1 victory on the road in their best-of-7 series with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Celtics had an 11-point lead at the half and allowed the Cavs to get back in the game in the third quarter. In a tight game in the fourth quarter, the Cavs made all of the big plays down the stretch and pulled away for a victory. Now, the Celtics will try to repeat their first half performance and attempt to salvage a split in Cleveland when the two teams battle it out in Game 2 on Monday night.
The Celtics were playing great basketball on both ends of the court in the first half of Game 1 and they had a 54-43 lead at the half. But the Cavs outscored them 36-24 in the third quarter, capped by a ridiculously athletic play by LeBron James to make a 360 runner off the glass at the buzzer at the end of the quarter, and held a one-point lead going into the final quarter. The Celtics stayed right with the Cavs for most of the fourth quarter, but LeBron James took over in the final minutes. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett both missed opportunities to score points late in the game. Paul Pierce missed an open 3-point attempt that would have tied the game up. And the Celtics couldn’t get defensive stops when the game was on the line. LeBron put a nail in the coffin with a 3-pointer to extend the Cavs lead to eight in the final minute, as the Cavs won the game, 101-93.
LeBron finished with 35 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He shot 12-of-24 from the field and 3-for-6 on 3-pointers and he also added three steals and two blocks. Mo Williams finished with 25 points, six assists and five rebounds. He had an explosive fast break dunk in the second half that energized the Cavs. Shaquille O’Neal only had 11 points, but he made some terrific post moves that brought back memories of his younger days. At the very least, Shaq proved that he can still be a valuable asset down low for the Cavs. Antawn Jamison grabbed nine rebounds but only scored seven points. He has to have more of an impact offensively for the Cavs going forward if they’re going to win this series and advance throughout the playoffs. Off the bench, J.J. Hickson had 11 points and Delonte West had eight points.
Rajon Rondo carried the Celtics with 27 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. He shot 7-of-10 from the field and made his only 3-point attempt. With Pierce, Garnett and Allen struggling, Rondo had to step up and take on the scoring load, but the Celtics need him to set up his teammates as a point guard, so the other three stars have to step up in Game 2. Pierce had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting, Garnett had 18 points on 9-of-20 shooting and 10 rebounds, and Allen had 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Pierce and Allen combined to shoot 3-of-13 from 3-point range. The Celtics got a total of 12 points from their bench.
The Cavs shot 49 percent from the field and 4-of-12 on 3-pointers. The Celtics shot 44 percent from the field and 4-of-16 on 3-pointers. The teams were even in rebounding, and the Cavs had six fewer turnovers than the Celtics. The Cavs also got to the free throw line 10 more times than the Celtics.
The Celtics are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 playoff games as an underdog, but 4-14 ATS in their last 18 conference semifinals games. The Cavs are 18-5-1 ATS in their last 24 conference semifinals games and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 playoff games as a favorite. The over is 5-0 in the last five meetings between these teams. The favorite and the home team are both 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these teams. The Celtics are 7-19-2 ATS in their last 28 meetings with the Cavs and 1-7 ATS in their last eight meetings in Cleveland.
Ryno’s Pick: It doesn’t surprise me that Cleveland covered in game 1 and it won’t surprise me when they do it again tonight. Take the cavaliers to cover the spread.