Cleveland (0-1) at Boston (1-0)
When: Tuesday, May 15th 2018
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Cleveland -2/203
Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris was not shy when saying how he is one of the best in the NBA at guarding LeBron James. Well, for at least one game, he was right. Morris scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds while pestering James into a playoff-high seven turnovers, while scoring just 15 points, as the Celtics rolled to a 108-83 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday. Jaylen Brown scored 23 points and Al Horford chipped in 20 for Boston, which opened up a 21-point first quarter lead and never let the Cavaliers within single digits again. The Celtics led by 28 when Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue pulled James with 7:09 left. Kevin Love led the Cavs with 17 points, but was just 5-of-14 shooting after averaging 25 points on 26-of-48 in his previous three games. Cleveland missed their first 14 three-point attempts and shot just 32 percent in the first half. Cavaliers sharp-shooter Kyle Korver summed up his team’s performance this way: “Bad game, bad first game. There’s lot of things we can do better in the next one.” Lue is toying with the idea of starting center Tristan Thompson in Game 2 to help against Horford. Thompson, who had eight points and 11 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench Sunday, was a starter the past three postseasons as Cleveland posted a 12-1 record against Horford, as a member of the Celtics and Atlanta Hawks.
James’ 15 points are a postseason career-low for him, but like most superstars, he’s not concerned. “I have zero level of concern at this stage,” James told reporters. “I’ve been down 0-1, I’ve been down 0-2, I’ve been down before in the postseason. But for me, there’s never no level of concern, no matter how bad I played tonight with seven turnovers, how inefficient I was shooting the ball.” Cleveland’s supporting cast didn’t help out James at all on Sunday as the team shot just 36 percent from the field, including a dismal 4-of-26 from 3-point range.
The decision of coach Brad Stevens to insert Morris into the starting power forward spot was the big difference-maker as a player who was just 18-of-59 shooting in the five-game series against Philadelphia made 7-of-12 shots and effectively hounded James. As Boston has done all postseason, multiple players scored in double-figures including Jayson Tatum (16 points), but his franchise rookie record of seven straight games of 20 or more points came to an end – something I don’t think he cares about. Point guard Terry Rozier had just eight points in Game 1 but also had eight assists against just one turnover.
As I said in my Game 1 preview, the Celtics are simply the better team. Even if James bounces back strong, which I’m sure he will, Boston has enough scoring and late game defense to pull out a close victory. Cleveland may get a game or two back home, but not at TD Garden tonight.
Pick: Celtics -1
- Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Cavaliers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. NBA Atlantic.
- Cavaliers are 13-27-1 ATS in their last 41 games following a straight up loss.
- Cavaliers are 12-25 ATS in their last 37 games following a ATS loss.
- Cavaliers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
- Cavaliers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Cavaliers are 11-38-2 ATS in their last 51 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
- Celtics are 14-2 ATS in their last 16 home games.
- Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Celtics are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Tuesday games.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Celtics are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 vs. NBA Central.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Celtics are 22-7-1 ATS in their last 30 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
- Celtics are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Celtics are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Celtics are 24-9 ATS in their last 33 games overall.
- Celtics are 51-23-1 ATS in their last 75 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Celtics are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 4-0 in Cavaliers last 4 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 5-1 in Cavaliers last 6 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Over is 4-1 in Cavaliers last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Over is 9-3 in Cavaliers last 12 Tuesday games.
- Over is 5-2 in Cavaliers last 7 overall.
- Over is 5-2 in Cavaliers last 7 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Over is 10-1 in Celtics last 11 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
- Over is 5-1 in Celtics last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Over is 10-2 in Celtics last 12 home games.
- Under is 5-2 in Celtics last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 12-5 in Celtics last 17 overall.
- Over is 12-5 in Celtics last 17 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Over is 7-3 in Celtics last 10 vs. NBA Central.
- Over is 7-3 in Celtics last 10 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Over is 13-6 in Celtics last 19 Tuesday games.
- Under is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Boston.
- Cavaliers are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings in Boston.
- Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Road team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings.