The home team has won every game in the Eastern Conference Finals relatively easily, but the Cavaliers have won the last two games, which has some thinking the first road win could come in Game 5.
Boston opened as a one-point favorite but it’s a pick at most shops now. Cleveland has Game 6 back at its place but for Boston, this is about as close to a must-win as it gets.
It’s amazing how the expected result has seemed to dramatically shift so much of the thinking among the NBA public.
After Boston went up 2–0, most fans (and oddsmakers) suspected that the Cavs would hold serve at home and make it 2–2 before going back to Boston. That’s what happened and now the public opinion seems to be that the Cavaliers have discovered something to give them the advantage going into these final three games.
This is the groupthink surrounding LeBron James, not just from the neutral, but from Boston fans, who have come off as pessimistic because of James’ history against the Celtics and at the Garden.
I can’t help but think Boston should be a rather large favorite in this game and the series, for that matter. Sure, Cleveland won both the games on its home floor but I didn’t see anything that it did, that it didn’t try to do in Games 1 and 2, and that it will be able to do in this game.
The only difference in Cleveland was a fast start and the relentlessness to hold off a team playing on the road, which is exactly what Boston will do at its place (it even proved in Game 2 that it doesn’t need a fast start to win). The role players played better; Boston’s young guys weren’t the same on the road (we’ve seen this before); and the officiating favored the home team.
Boston won’t get as many whistles at home as Cleveland did, but it should be at least fair. Brad Stevens will be comfortable running more offense through Jayson Tatum at home, where he plays so much better, and the Celtics’ defense will be the more active unit, whereas Cleveland’s will go back to looking like furniture rotating around a living room every six months.
This line is bizarre. I’m taking the Celtics and I’m taking them big.
Free Pick: Boston PK
Al Horford • boston celtics • Brad Stevens • Cleveland Cavaliers • Eastern Conference Finals • Jaylen Brown • Kevin Love • LeBron James