Network dreams of matching LeBron James against Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals are a game away from being crushed. Down 3-2 and facing elimination in Boston, the King and his minions are one-point underdogs in tonight's Game 6 at TD Garden. The Celtics will lean on their Big 3, as well as their 'Little Fourth,' Rajon Rondo, to pull off the improbable and make their way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Boston Celtics took a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Cleveland Cavaliers with Tuesday’s crushing 120-88 win as 7 ½-point road dogs. Thursday’s Game 6 has sports books installing Boston as a one-point home favorite in its possible series-clinching clash.
Ray Allen was one of six Celtics to score double figures in Tuesday’s victory. The nine-time All-Star drained 6-of-9 from three-point land en route to notching a team-high 25 points.
Boston forward Paul Pierce logged his first double-double of the postseason with 21 points and 11 rebounds. “The Truth” also added a postseason-high seven assists.
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The combined 208 points soared ‘over’ the ‘total’ of 193 ½. Boston entered the third quarter with an 80-63 lead, and piled on 40 more points of the fourth quarter’s combined 65.
Cleveland’s LeBron James was held to shoot 3-of-14 from the field and finished with 15 points. The superstar forward had not scored this few points since a March 21 trip to Detroit, where James was used sparingly in 31 minutes of action.
Cavs center Shaquille O’Neal scored a team-high 21 points. The big man hit 7-of-11 from the field and was 7-for-10 from the foul line.
O’Neal and Company are 2-2 ATS in their four postseason road games. The ‘over’ is 3-1.
Boston is 4-1 ATS in its five playoff home duels, with the ‘under’ 3-2. The only loss came against Cleveland in Game 3’s 124-95 blowout last Friday.
The Cavaliers lost their most recent Game 6 of a series last year when they were defeated, 103-90, as two-point road dogs against the Orlando Magic. ‘Over’ bettors cashed by the hook with the combined 193 points edging above the 192 ½-point ‘total.’
Boston was 1-1 ATS in two Game 6’s played last season at Orlando and Chicago. The ‘total’ was split.
Cleveland is 0-6 ATS in its last six games played with one day of rest. The Celtics are 4-0 ATS in their last four games that took place after being idle for one day.
The ‘total’ for Game 6 was initially set at 196, which makes it the highest of the series. ‘Total’ bettors have alternated cashing with the ‘over’ (3-2) and ‘under’ (2-3) in each playoff game between the rivals.
This battle tips at 8 p.m. (ET), and will be nationally televised by ESPN. If necessary, Sunday afternoon’s series-deciding Game 7 would take place back in Cleveland.
Odds to win the series have Boston listed as a 175 favorite, while the Cavaliers are plus 155.