NBA Betting Preview
Cleveland Cavaliers (48-12) at Boston Celtics (48-14)
8:00PM Eastern, Friday
Bookmaker.com betting line – Boston -2
Eastern Conference bragging rights are on the line this Friday night as two of the top teams in the East square off. The defending champion Boston Celtics are one of the leading favorites to win the Eastern Conference this season especially after Orlando dropped out of the picture. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers will likely be standing in the Celtic’s path to stop them from any repeat hopes. Cleveland owns the best record in the East at 48-12 slightly better than the Celtics and has won 9 of their last 10 games through an impressive stretch of basketball. Friday night’s contest will be interesting to watch to see how both teams stack against each other and give a glimpse of what to expect in the playoffs this season considering many believe these two teams will meet in the post season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won 4 straight games with their win over Milwaukee on Wednesday night. Cleveland was defeated by the Boston Celtics in their opening game this season, but scored a win when they hosted the Celtics in their 2nd meeting of the season in January. Cleveland owns the NBA’s best all-around defense. The Cavaliers have held opposing teams to only 90 points per game on the season. Cleveland number 1 defense may be surprising considering Boston is the most well known defensive team in the league. Cleveland held the Celtics to only 83 points in their latest win over the Celtics and they will certainly be attempting to shut down the talented Boston lineup again on Friday night. Lebron James scored 38 points in the last meeting and recently posted a big 42 point performance on Monday against Miami. Perhaps, James will have another big night in one of the biggest games on the schedule.
Boston trails the Cavaliers scoring defense slightly only allowing 92 points per game on the season. The Celtics premier defense took a hit with the loss of Kevin Garnett. Garnett is one of the best defensive players in the NBA and has been battling a knee injury for nearly two weeks. In Garnett’s absence, the Celtics have been a bit inconsistent giving up 99 points or more in 4 of the last 6 games. Paul Pierce has stepped up on the offensive side of the ball knocking down 20 or more points in 8 of his last 9 games. The Celtics will need one of their featured players to step up on Friday night to compensate for the unsatisfying defensive performances of the last few weeks. Ray Allen really ended the month of February shooting the ball really well, but has been held to only 13 point average over the last two games. If Allen can step in and have a big night along with Pierce, the Celtics will be extremely tough to beat at home.
What to watch for…
The loss of Kevin Garnett gives Boston a weaker look inside on defense. Expect Cleveland to try and exploit the paint and score some points on some give and go type passes down low. Although the other two games have been both held under the 185 total, this game may go a bit on the higher side. Expect a bit more scoring from both teams rather than the defensive battles that highlighted the first two meetings.
Pick – Cleveland -2