NBA Picks: Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals - Cavaliers vs Celtics

Celtics-Cavs

Jason Lake

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 12:54 PM GMT

Wednesday, May. 24, 2017 12:54 PM GMT

The Boston Celtics beat the basketball odds, but the Cleveland Cavaliers still took Game 4 Tuesday night. Will they be healthy enough to cover Game 5 on Thursday?

Okay, that was a weird game. The Cleveland Cavaliers came out flat Tuesday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Finals with the Boston Celtics; LeBron James looked like he was still suffering the effects of whatever caused him to lay an egg in Game 3, and the Celtics (+15.5 away) took a 10-point lead into the dressing room. Consternation and uproar!

Fear not, Cleveland fans. James woke up in the second half, Kyrie Irving took up the remaining slack, and the Cavaliers won 112-99 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. But they didn’t beat the NBA odds, and they saw both Irving (ankle) and Kevin Love (back spasms?) get dinged up during their comeback. That could make Boston an even better value for your NBA picks when they host the Cavs this Thursday, tipping off at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on TNT. The Celtics have opened as 8.5-point home dogs with a total of 214.5.
 

Bring Out the Gimps

The Cavaliers need all of their Big Three healthy and hale for Game 5, because without their combined heroics, this series would be tied up heading back to Boston. Irving ended up leading the way with 42 points, including a big third-quarter surge with James (34 points, six assists) on the bench. Love was steady throughout with 17 points, 17 boards, five assists and two blocks.

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Kyrie Irving had 21 points in the third quarter on 9/10 shooting & 2 dimes in the third quarter. Even after messing up his ankle.

— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) May 24, 2017
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As a team, Cleveland shot 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) from downtown, but again, James wasn’t quite his usual self, making just one of his six trey attempts on the night. Boston shot 10-of-31 (32.3 percent) after cooling off in the second half. That’s close enough to normal for both teams on these high-variance shots.

So we’re pretty much in the same place from a betting perspective that we’ve been all series – given close to average luck over 48 minutes, Boston has the goods to cover more often than not versus the public Cavaliers. Factor in the added fatigue and general gimpiness their Big Three exhibited in Game 4, and we’re inclined to stick with the C’s in Game 5. Oh, look, they’re already up to +9 as I write this. Maybe they’ll go even higher before tip-off.

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