The Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday night. How important is Game 5? Teams that lead a seven-game series 3-2, go on to win the series 84.8 percent, of the time. The Celtics lost the last two games but their confidence should be very high. They are 10-0 in the playoffs at home and they score 17 more points per game at TD Garden, in the post-season.
Keys to the game:
Boston’s defense looked lost in Cleveland. In Game 2, they gave up a season high 68 points, in the first half. They have given up 227 points over the past two contests. Brad Stevens will make the necessary adjustments and they should keep the Cavs under 100 points. Offensively, Boston’s aggresiveness went south when they traveled to Cleveland, they appeared timid at times. They have to get back to attacking the Cavs off the dribble and get into the paint.
The Cavaliers were a different team at Quicken Loans Arena. George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver all contributed offensively. Defensively, they were active, Korver had 3 blocks in Game 2. Every player on Cleveland was engaged on both sides of the ball and they made sure Boston worked for every basket.
The difference in this pivotal game will be two things:
1) Role Players
In their first two games Smith and Hill had 12 points combined. They Cavs have no chance of winning if these two can’t contribute. The Celtics should be rejuvenated by their home crowd and I look for them to take an early lead to try and “knock out” Cleveland early. The Cavs will weather the storm. As good of a coach as Stevens is, he can’t overcompensate for his teams lack of experience. LeBron James and company have been down this road before. That should help them with Boston’s raucous crowd. Down the stretch, will the Celtics young players be able to handle the pressure? I don’t think so…. Look for LeBron to have a 30 point game along with a triple double.
I like the Cavs in a close game 95-90
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