Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics (+4.5, 219.5)
Cavaliers lead series 1-0
The Cleveland Cavaliers displayed little signs of rust in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals and look to take a 2-0 lead when they visit the Boston Celtics on Friday. Cleveland had been off since May 7 before annihilating Boston for the first three quarters of Wednesday's Game 1 and settling for a 117-104 victory.
The second-seeded Cavaliers are 9-0 in the postseason and are the recipients of a slew of superb efforts by forward LeBron James, who had 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in Game 1. "He's playing at a high level, and that's the reason why we're riding him so much," Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. "When LeBron's playing at that level other guys just have to be solid and we have a good chance to win." The third-seeded Celtics are looking to avoid digging a huge hole at home but point guard Isaiah Thomas declared his squad isn't intimidated. "They lace up their shoes just like us," Thomas told reporters on Thursday. "They just happened to play better than us in Game 1. We just gotta protect home court in Game 2 and get the win."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Celtics opened as 5-point home dogs for this critical Game 2 and that line was quickly bet up to 6 on Thursday morning before fading back to 5 on Thursday night. The total hit the betting board at 220 and came down slight to 219.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: "Each team was in a completely different scheduling situation in Game 1 on Wednesday. The Cavaliers had nine days off after an easy four-game sweep of the Raptors, while the Celtics had a just one day of rest after a grueling seven-game series versus the Wizards. The Cavaliers were not rusty, or maybe the Celtics were just flat, as Cleveland stormed out to a 22-point lead at halftime. Now Boston must try to regroup on their home court where they are 35-14 SU this season." - Covers Expert Steve Merril.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTSINTERACTION):
Cavaliers - C Edy Tavares (Out For Season, hand), PG Kay Felder (Out Indefinitely, leg).
Celtics - No injuries to report.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (60-31 SU, 42-45-4 ATS, 54-36-1 O/U): LeBron James is averaging 34.8 points, nine rebounds and 7.1 assists in the postseason and has scored 30 or more points in each of the last seven games. He received help in Game 1 from power forward Kevin Love (career playoff-high 32 points to go with 12 rebounds) and center Tristan Thompson, who tallied a career playoff-best 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting. "I felt like everybody was moving the ball, passing the ball well," Love, who drained six 3-pointers, told reporters. "On both ends of the floor our game plan was pretty tight."
ABOUT THE CELTICS (61-35 SU, 49-45-2 ATS, 47-44-4 O/U): Isaiah Thomas tallied just 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting in the opener, marking the fourth time in the past six games he has scored fewer than 20 points. As the contest spiraled away from Boston, rookie forward Jaylen Brown made a case for more time in the series by producing 10 points (on 5-of-7 shooting) and nine rebounds in 20 minutes and going toe-to-toe with James after more experienced Celtics were exposed. "It was just playing basketball," Brown told reporters. "He laces his shoes up like I lace mine up. Coming out, playing basketball and trying to make it tough for him. I feel that's my job."
* Cavaliers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
* Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Over is 4-1 in Cavaliers last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 7-1 in Celtics last 8 games following a straight up loss.
* Road team is 8-2-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 64 percent of Covers users are siding with the road favorite Cleveland Cavaliers and 55 percent of are on the Over. View full consensus data here.