Cavs vs Celtics – NBA Game 7 Pick for May 26th
Game 6 of this series went as expected with the Cavs winning on their home court and LeBron James having a big game. Now, the series shifts back to Boston for the deciding Game 7 and a trip to the NBA Finals. Will Boston stay undefeated at home in the playoffs or will LeBron James lead his team to the NBA Finals for the 8th straight year?
If James can lift his team to victory, it will have to be without Kevin Love as the forward has been placed in concussion protocol and ruled out for Game 7. This is definitely a huge blow to the Cavs’ chances of winning, but it also just adds another layer to this incredible challenge for King James.
The first thing the Cavs will have to overcome is Boston’s stranglehold on games at the TD Garden. For the playoffs, the Celtics are 10-0 at home and have blown out the Cavs every game this series by a score of 103.6 ppg to 86.6 ppg. Despite, their home success in the series and the playoffs, the Celtics are preparing for what they dub Game 7 to be – “a dogfight.”
In Game 6, Boston came out aggressive and led by 5 after the first quarter. They also played the Cavs even in the second half. Unfortunately, it was their poor 2nd quarter where they were outscored 34-18. The Cavs made a massive run with their bench and Boston was unable to respond. The C’s big 3 of Tatum, Rozier and Brown combined for 70 points. Morris and Smart added 10 points apiece off the bench. Boston also shot 51.4% from the floor and 42.9% from downtown. These numbers should’ve won the game for them, but they fell short in a few major ways, which ultimately doomed them.
Boston went 11-of-20 on free throws, had 13 turnovers and their big men of Horford and Baynes combined for just 6 points and 13 rebounds. Cavs’ power forward Larry Nance Jr. had 10 points and 7 rebounds off the bench as he outperformed both of Boston’s big men.
Boston will need better play from Horford and an improved defensive effort to prevent Cleveland from crossing the century mark, forcing more than 9 turnovers, and cutting down on the 22 free throw attempts taken.
For Cleveland, it will come down to just how much LeBron can do on his own and to put his teammates in the best position to succeed. The Cavs bench came up big in Game 6 as Nance, Green and Korver combined for 30 points. But, the biggest surprise was George Hill who finally made his presence felt with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Hill has only averaged 5 ppg in the three games at Boston on 31% shooting from the floor, but averages 15.3 ppg at home in this series.
Nance will most likely benefit from Love’s Game 7 absence as he played 22 minutes in Game 6 and could possibly push closer to 30 minutes this game.
As for LeBron, he scored 46 points on 17-of-33 shooting. He also went 5-of-7 from downtown, had 11 rebounds and 9 assists. He will need that type of performance for the Cavs to win Game 7.
King James is 5-2 in Game 7’s all-time. However, he has gone 5-0 in his last five Game 7 appearances. LeBron has also scored 34.1 ppg in elimination games which is the best in NBA History. In other words, I’m going to ride-or-die with King James in Game 7 and take him for my bet.
Cleveland is 8-3 SU in their last 11 games and 18-7 SU in their last 25 against Boston. They’re also 18-10 SU against the Atlantic Division, 13-7 SU after winning by 10 points the previous game, 21-12 SU in Conference Final games dating back to 1996, and 40-16 SU in all playoff games over the last 3 years. Boston is 3-7 SU in the Conference Finals over the last three years and 19-20 SU against teams with a winning record in the second half of the season.
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