NBA Playoffs Vegas Online Sports Betting & Free Picks Tuesday May 15th, 2018

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Cleveland Looks to Bounce Back After Game One Loss to Boston

Never let them see you sweat was one of the most famous slogans from the 1980s and 1990s. Clearly LeBron James took it to heart after his Cleveland Cavaliers were routed in game one 108-83 by the Boston Celtics.

To hear James talk of it, it was almost like he expected the team to lose since game one is a feeling out process. So it was no big deal and now the real Cleveland Cavaliers will be showing up.

But that loss, which included James’ worst performance of the post season (15 points, 5-16 shooting) was about as impressive as it gets for the Celtics.

Cleveland was riding the high of sweeping Toronto in the last series where James and company were able to suck the soul out of the Raptors. So effective were they, that the Raptors dismissed coach Dwayne Casey in spite leading the team to a franchise best 59-wins and winning the coach of the year award.

But in this game, the Boston defense had all the answers and the Cavaliers played right into their hands. Marcus Morris was brilliant against James as he said he would be. And the Celtics continually had smaller players -such as Terry Rozier- guarding Kevin Love as he received a pass and then would switch a larger one -like Jayson Tatum- as the pass was received. Having a stronger and larger player forced multiple turnovers and that bait and switch technique convinced Cleveland to slow the game down.

And considering that Boston’s half-court defense is the best in the league and they just demonstrated their expertise at an incredibly high level in beating Philadelphia in five games, the Celtics couldn’t have asked for anything better.

The Celtics might be missing their two best players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Heyward, but the rest of the team is very talented. Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both top-five picks from the last two years and Al Horford is a borderline superstar. Morris is one of the best players in the game at guarding James and Rozier has come into his own these playoffs.

They are part of a methodical team building process that’s been happening for the past four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.

The Cavaliers are a hodge podge of players as the team was remade twice this season. And at least for one game, the gap between the two was apparent for all to see.

Boston is -1 favorites and while no one expects Cleveland to make just 4-26 on three-point shots again, I trust that Celtics team more than Cleveland, especially at home. Boston is 7-0 at TD Garden this postseason. The Pick: Celtics 106-100.

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