Gary | Wed 24/05/2017 - 13:07 EDT

Scrappy Celtics have earned respect for Game 5

Cleveland will advance in close Game 5

By Eric Uribe

Below odds courtesy of BetOnline

Lines

Over/under 214.5 points: Cleveland Cavaliers (-9) at Boston Celtics 

For a moment, Game 4 was beginning to feel like deja vu all over again for Cleveland. On their home floor, the Cavs trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half. Even more stunning, for the first time in his 14-year career, LeBron James picked up four fouls before the intermission. 

Then Kyrie Irving put on his superhero cape and erupted for 21 points in the third quarter, before ending with a playoff career-high 42 to propel Cleveland to a 112-99 win. But the box score doesn't do Irving's performance nearly enough justice.

In that game-turning third frame, Irving went down with what seemed like a scary ankle injury. In a postseason dotted with injuries, Irving appeared to be next on the list. However, he toughed it out and ripped off 14 straight points in a three-plus minute stretch.

The put-the-team-on-his-back performance by Irving gave James enough time to overcome his foul trouble and recent offensive woes. James finished with 34 points, six assists, and five rebounds. But Irving's jolt spurred the comeback bid that now puts Boston on the brink. 

While a Cleveland-Golden State NBA Finals matchup is inevitable, that doesn't mean Boston should be dismissed so easily. No, that doesn't mean they'll win Game 5. But this scrappy team returning home as nine-point underdogs? We'll take it.

respek

The no-superstar Celtics have been disrespected enough. Some called them the worst one seed in playoff history, which only poured on after two lopsided losses to start the series. 

Nonetheless, the fight they showed the last two games, without Isaiah Thomas, has earned them respect. That Game 3 upset has to be the biggest of the NBA season by a longshot.

Then the Cavs simply couldn't miss, as they shot 71 percent during the second half. Irving's outburst was pure heat check — there was no stopping him. In Game 5, the Celtics have done enough to prove they can at least hang close.

Avery Bradley has officially arrived as tweener star. During the last seven playoff games, Bradley is averaging 19.7 points per game — an uptick from his 16.3 regular season average. In big-time games, Bradley is playing bigger, evident by his game-winning three pointer in Game 3. The same goes for Jae Crowder. During this series, he's shredding the Cavs to the tune of 15.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. 

It's hard to fathom, but it feels like the Celtics are playing better sans Thomas. With him in the lineup, Boston players seemed to get out of his way and let Thomas carry them. Without him, they have steadily rose to the occasion. That continues in Game 5.

Pick: Boston (+9)

Total: Over

 

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Category : Sports Betting News

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