Counterpoint: No Blowout in Game 4, with Celtics-Cavs a Maalox Masher

Sunday, May 20, 2018 2:48 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 20, 2018 2:48 PM UTC

As we get ready for Monday night's Game 4 of the East finals between Boston and Cleveland, you should be aware I'm on a bedrock-solid 9-2 ATS run in the NBA playoffs.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Celtics vs. Cavaliers">NBA Monday:</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong><a href="" title="Celtics vs. Cavaliers">Celtics (65-32 SU, 59-34-4 ATS) vs. Cavaliers (59-37 SU, 37-57-2 ATS)</a></strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NBA Pick: Celtics +6.5</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book= YouWager" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">YouWager</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3468854, "sportsbooksIds":[139,169,1096,180,1252], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>Normally when making <a href="" target="_blank" title="Free NBA Picks">NBA picks</a>, no matter how far ahead one team is, there are few anxious moments when the team trailing mounts a comeback and if you had the favorite, your blood pressure starts to rise. This did not happen in Cleveland for Game 3 Saturday, as the Cavaliers shellacked Boston by 30 points. By the end of the third quarter, instead of looking like one the brightest young coaches in the NBA, Brad Stevens looked as hopeless as a first-year second-grade teacher in his third day, knowing there was nothing he could do. (I'm sure SBR colleague Swinging Johnson had the same look with a Sam Adams in his hand.)</p><p>Most times, oddsmakers give the benefit of the doubt to the team that just lost in the next game, but because Saturday's beating was so thorough, the <a href="" target="_blank" title="NBA Odds">NBA odds board </a>had Cleveland at -7 for Monday's game before they were sent to -6.</p><p>Boston still leads the Eastern Conference final series 2-1, but can the Celtics be competitive in Game 4 or are we headed for a repeat of what we just saw?</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Game 3 was a tough one, but our guys will look to turn Game 4 into a different story by cleaning up mistakes at the defensive end. &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Boston Celtics (@celtics) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;May 20, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p> </p><h2>Boston Has No Answers</h2><p>Going into Saturday's conflict, there were three things I said Cleveland needed to do to win and cover:</p><p>Make more 3's: Check (17 of 34).<br />Generate more turnovers: Check (15).<br />Find more scoring besides LeBron James and Kevin Love: Check (four other players combined for 48 points).</p><p>Playoff basketball is about adjustments and Cleveland's more experienced club made Boston look like a very youthful club. Despite their success, Boston is now 1-5 (2-4 ATS) in the playoffs on the road. Fortunately, they still lead the series and can bounce back.</p><p> </p><h2>Celtics Need These Fixes</h2><p>When Swinging Johnson picked Boston to win and cover on Saturday, I can assure you he was not counting on one thing -- the Celtics' indifference. When one team plays this way and the other is desperate and motivated, this is how major blowouts happen.</p><p>While there was much attention paid to the C's starting backcourt shooting 8-for-20 and scoring 23 points, I literally could not recall one of Jayson Tatum's six made baskets and thought he showed his youth. He along with Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown have to be more mentally and physically involved over all 94-foot court.</p><p>Besides effort on defense, Stevens will stress ball movement like we have seen in most Boston games, which leads to better shots. Watch for the Celtics to feature Al Horford in the first six minutes, with him only having four shots in Game 3 (seven points). Expect Horford and Rozier in screen and roll action, trying to get Horford on a smaller opponent or pick and pop from Horford.</p><p>After three matchups that have been decided by 22.6 points a game, we get a close one. Because it still matters the Cavs are 13-30-1 ATS as home favorites and the Boston is 8-0 ATS revenging a road loss of 10 points or more this season. Sorry to say Swinging Johnson whiffs again.</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="">Read why Swinging Johnson might be unpopular in his own town.</a></h2>
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