Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Game 5 NBA Playoff Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Boston Celtics (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29 SU, 45-33-4 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, May 11, 2010, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio. TV: TNT
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Celtics +7.5/Cavaliers -7.5
Over/Under: 194

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The best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinals series between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers has now turned into a best-of-3 series, as the two teams battle it out in an important Game 5 in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Both teams have won a road game on the other team’s home floor in the first four games of the series. The Celtics won Game 2 in Cleveland and the Cavs won Game 4 in Boston. The Celtics had a double-digit lead on the Cavs at halftime in Game 1 but the Cavs battled back and made all of the key plays down the stretch to win it. In Game 2, the Celtics again controlled the game but built that lead up in the second half and withstood the Cavs comeback attempt to win the game. The Cavs dominated Game 3 behind a strong start and a 21-point first quarter from LeBron James. The Celtics controlled a tight Game 4 and made the key plays down the stretch to hang on for the victory to tie the series up at 2-2.

In the Celtics’ 97-87 win at home in Game 5 over the Cavs on Sunday, the Celtics shot 45 percent from the field and just 1-of-14 from 3-point range. The Cavs shot 40 percent from the field and 4-of-19 from 3-point range. The Celtics dominated on the boards with a 47-33 rebounding advantage. The Cavs turned the ball over 17 times while the Celtics had just 12 turnovers. Both teams made a living at the free throw line, as the Celtics shot 28-of-40 and the Cavs shot 29-of-39.

Rajon Rondo had a classic playoff performance for the Celtics with 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. He has been spectacular both this year and last year in the playoffs. He threatens to get a triple-double almost every night. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett each scored 18 points. Paul Pierce scored just nine points and Kendrick Perkins went scoreless. Tony Allen scored 15 points off the bench. The Celtics really struggled shooting the ball from the outside but managed to grind it out by getting to the free throw line 40 times.

LeBron James led the Cavs with 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Shaquille O’Neal had 17 points and five rebounds, Antawn Jamison had 14 points and six rebounds, Mo Williams scored 13 points, and Anthony Parker had 10 points. The Cavs got just 11 points from their bench. Players not named LeBron have to step up more on the offensive end if the Cavs are going to win this series and advance.

LeBron is averaging about 31 points, nine rebounds and seven assists per game in the playoffs. He is shooting 54 percent from the field and 43 percent on 3-pointers. He is doing his job to carry the load, but the other Cavs players have to step up. Jamison is averaging 17.1 points per game and Williams is averaging 14.1 points per game. Jamison and Williams are shooting a combined 24-for-80 on 3-pointers in the playoffs, or 30 percent. That’s not going to get it done for the Cavs. LeBron needs a second, third and fourth scoring option every game to step up in a big way.

Rondo is carrying the Celtics in the playoffs with about 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds per game. Ray Allen, Garnett and Pierce are all scoring more than 16 points per game. Pierce is only shooting 40 percent from the field. It’s fine for those four guys to be scoring all of the points for the Celtics, but the problem has been that one or two of them have been having a bad game usually. At least three of the four need to play well for the Celtics to win.

The over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these teams. The Celtics are 5-12 ATS in the last 17 meetings between these teams and 2-7 ATS in their last nine meetings in Cleveland. The underdog is 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings between these teams. Both of the Cavs wins in this series have gone over, while both of the Celtics wins have gone under.

Ryno’s Pick: I like the Celtics to cover the spread tonight.