The Celtics were flying high entering Game 3 of their series with the Cavaliers Friday, as Boston was coming off of s surprisingly easy 18-point road win in Game 2. Well, the momentum the Celtics gained from that victory is now lost, as they suffered a 29-point blowout of their own on their home floor, giving home court advantage back to the Cavs. Also, LeBron was his usual self, making his injured elbow a non-issue.
So much for the resurgence of the Boston Celtics.
Feeling great about themselves after getting a split in the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics laid an egg in Game 3 at TD Garden on Friday night.
It’s tough to say if Boston was overconfident rolling into Game 3, but one thing’s for sure: The Celts are no match for LeBron James and the Cavs when the latter brings its ‘A’ game.
James went for 38 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in Cleveland’s 124-95 shellacking of Boston on Friday night, as the Cavaliers cashed easily as 1-point underdogs.
It’s almost as if the Celtics forgot they were playing the best team – and best player in the league – in Game 3. Bolstered by its surprising 104-86 win as 6-point pups in Game 2 on Monday night, Boston came out flat, allowing Cleveland to shoot 67 percent in the first quarter in falling behind 36-17.
The loss – although not the extent to which the Celts were slammed – was predictable for bettors that have followed Boston all season. Heading into the playoffs, the Celtics were a disappointing 24-17 SU and a money draining 12-28-1 ATS at the Garden.
Boston appeared to turn the corner in its first round series with the Miami Heat, going 3-0 SU and ATS at home in setting up a date with Cleveland. It’s back to the drawing board after Game 3 against the Cavaliers, who improved to 4-3 SU and against the number in seven games against the Celts with their blowout victory on Friday night.
Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon (3:30 PM ET, ABC) at the Garden, and all of a sudden Boston is effectively looking at the end of its season – and possibly the run of the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.
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A few questions were answered in Game 3 that give bettors a look into how they should handle their money for Game 4.
First of all, LeBron’s balky elbow appears to be a non-issue. The injury was heavily discussed following Game 2, but James put together a masterful performance on Friday night. James scored 21 of his 38 points in the decisive first quarter, including eight in a row after getting clipped by a Kendrick Perkins’ flagrant foul.
Perkins played through a knee injury in Game 3, while Garnett (foot) also benefited from the three days off between games. Problem is, the Celtics lost all their momentum because of the layoff.