If I may, the Boston play in Game 6 was a lean. I had a feeling the Celtics were going to play better than they did in Games 3 and 4 and had a chance to win straight-up because they are the better team, would be more relaxed, and the chance Cleveland would come out with a defeatist attitude after taking a third straight whooping in Boston.
That was the right way to lean for three quarters but the Cavs were +16 in the second quarter, erasing an early deficit and opening up a lead large enough to milk as on their home floor. The C’s almost got in the backdoor, too, but LeBron hit two ridiculously tough 3-pointers in the final two minutes.
So we didn’t get Game 6, but we easily could have. And it was a lean, anyway; Game 5 was a strong play. I played Boston in both because Cleveland has been priced like the better team for the entire series, even though it is most definitely not.
The Cavs were a pick for all three games in Boston and lost all three by a combined 51 points. The market is finally catching up in Game 7, but it’s still lagging behind. The Cavs are still priced as a slightly better team on Sunday night. It’s Boston -2.
The Celtics will be healthy for Game 7, at least as healthy as they have been for the entire series. Cleveland has to wait and see about Kevin Love, who collided, head-on-head, with Jayson Tatum early in Game 6 and didn’t return. He wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion but it was too early to be sure. He has to go through league protocol on Saturday in order to get cleared for Sunday. I’m assuming he’s playing because I’m on Boston, but Cleveland ought not to count on him because of his recent history with concussions. If he doesn’t go, it only makes me more confident that Boston will win.
LeBron was dominant in Game 2 and it didn’t matter much. He wasn’t bad, by his standards, in Games 1 and 5, either. None what Cleveland has done to win its three home games, take the lead by force and then kick the Celtics down the hill anytime they climb close to the top, will work in Boston.
Boston will have the high ground in this game and, unlike the Celtics, the Cavs haven’t even shown the ability to climb that hill at the TD Garden. They are going to have to get something totally unexpected out of someone like JR Smith or Jordan Clarkson; or the Celtics are going to have to play tight out of nowhere. I would be just a bit concerned if Boston builds a big lead early and then gets too conservative, too soon.
But honestly, I just expect to enjoy another easy win. Boston to the Finals.
Free Pick: Boston -2