Cavaliers vs Celtics – NBA Game 5 Pick for May 23rd

by Rick Rockwell
on May 23, 2018

Minute Read

After winning both games in Cleveland, the Cavs have evened the series and head back to Boston for Game 5. The Celtics easily defeated the Cavs in the first two games of the series by an average of 19 points. Boston is undefeated at home in the postseason with a 9-0 record and look to keep the winning streak going at TD Garden.

The majority of sportsbooks have the spread at either 1 point or as a Pick Em. It’s too close of a call to decide which team will win outright.

Even though Boston had a better performance in Game 4 than Game 3, they still lost by 9. Cleveland outshot Boston 50.6% to 41.2% from the floor, nipped them from beyond the arc at 34.8% to 32.1 %, outrebounded the Celtics at 60 to 45, and had 50 points in the paint compared to 38 by Boston.

The Celtics are now 1-6 on the road in the playoffs and can’t afford to lose the home court advantage. If the Celtics want to move on to the NBA Finals, they will definitely need to win Game 5 and Game 7 at home. Fortunately for Boston, Cleveland hasn’t been that great on the road as they’re just 3-4 SU. So, Boston definitely has a decent chance at winning tonight.

If Cleveland is going to win this series, they need to steal one of these road games and also win at home in Game 6. Ideally, the Cavs would love to keep the momentum going and cruise into Game 5 with the same success they showed the last two games.

Obviously, the Cavs will go as far as King James will take them. In Game 4, LeBron had 44 points. However, he once again had some help from role players like George Hill who had 13 points, Korver with 14 points off the bench and Thompson’s double-double. Since the Cavs have made Thompson a starter, the team has performed better offensively and defensively. Most notably, it has been Thompson’s effect on Celtics big man Al Horford. Although Horford had 15 points in Game 4, Thompson had more rebounds and blocks.

Kevin Love had his worst performance of the series by scoring only 9 points on 3-of-12 shooting in Game 4. Cavs will need their #2 star to step up at Boston and pitch in at least 15 points and 10 rebounds to help LeBron and Thompson out.

For the Celtics, they will need to find their defense again. At home, they held the Cavs to just 88.5 ppg. On the road, they allowed 113.5 ppg. Boston will also need to find a way to counter Thompson’s impact and that could come in the form of backup center Aron Baynes who had 8 points and 7 rebounds in just 16 minutes of play in Game 4.

The question heading into Game 5 is – will we see the Cavs rise up and take a road game in Boston? Most pundits and fans expected Cleveland to take one of the first two games, but Boston had other ideas. With that said, I would love to pick Cleveland to win outright, but who honestly knows if they will play well in Game 5 or wither away like in the first 2 games of the series.

I believe the safe and smart pick is to go with the Under in this game.

For the series, Boston is averaging 100.7 ppg and Cleveland is averaging 101 ppg. In the first two games of the series, the totals were 191 and 201. In the 4 games so far between these two teams, the Under is 3-1. The Under is also 5-2 this year between these two teams and 10-3 in Boston.

The Under is 4-2 in Cleveland’s last 6 overall games, 4-1 in the last 5 games following an opponent scoring 100 or more points in the previous game, 5-2 in the last 7 games against winning teams, and 14-6 in the last 20 games following a win ATS.

For Boston, the Under is 5-0 following a 100 point performance in their previous game, 5-2 in their last 7 overall games, 5-2 in their last 7 against the NBA Central division, and 4-1 when tied in a playoff series over the last 5 occurrences.

Bet: Under 206 total points (-110)

Pick: Under 206

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Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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