Will Celtics Continue Surge To NBA Finals?

Brown has been consistent

The Boston Celtics put forward a fine performance to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Cavs responded from their loss in game one with a fine effort in the opening quarter. LeBron James led a counterpunch as the visitors took an early lead in the contest.

He scored 21 points in the first 12 minutes of the game and Tyronn Lue’s men held a healthy advantage heading into the second half at the TD Garden.

However, the Celtics rallied through Terry Rozier, who was the integral part in their surge in the third. Boston scored 36 points to rock the Cavs before taking the lead.

From that point onwards Brad Stevens’ side were in complete control of the game and were able to pull their men towards the end of proceedings.

Boston now hold a two-lead advantage in the series, putting them in a dominant position to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

LeBron has not trailed by a two-game deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals since eight years ago when he and his Cleveland team-mates lost to the Celtics.

The 33-year-old’s 42-point performance was not enough to get his team on the board, leaving them with plenty of work ahead of them at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Brown has been consistent

Boston Celtics

The Celtics displayed their resilience once again to defeat the Cavaliers to take a commanding lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Stevens’ men have had to battle adversity throughout the campaign after losing Gordon Hayward in their opener and then again as Kyrie Irving was struck down just before the post-season.

However, Stevens has managed to keep his team on the level and playing outstanding basketball that has the club on the verge of the NBA Finals. Boston were expecting a response from LeBron and he proved them right with a destructive opening quarter. However, the Celtics took the blow and were only trailing by five points. They gradually grew into the game before Rozier was able to provide the spark that ignited their charge in the second half.

Rozier has typified the Celtics’ season. He had underwhelmed after being drafted in the first round in 2015, but has come to the fore to replace Irving. His pace and skill with the ball have been a huge asset the club, while his shooting from deep has improved greatly. Rozier’s performance allowed Jayson Tatum to take a back seat after his starring role in the opener. Al Horford and Jaylen Brown were their consistent selves, which has seen Boston play excellent complementary basketball.

Marcus Smart was equally impressive. His abrasive style of play is perfect for the post-season and he proved that he was not afraid of mixing it up with the power of LeBron. Smart is arguably the best defender left in the post-season and will have his sights set on another dominant outing. The Celtics struggled on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks, but were solid against the Philadelphia. Stealing a game from the Cavs on the road should put them on the path to the NBA Finals.

Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron scored 42 points and even that was not enough to get the Cavaliers on the board in the series. He made 16 of his 29 shots from the field, including five of his 11 three-point attempts. The 33-year-old’s fast start should have been a spark for his team to rally around. However, the support was not forthcoming. Only Kevin Love and Kyle Korver broke double figures, with the latter providing a decent foil for LeBron, although he struggled in his defensive duties.

Love has come the fore in the series and notched 22 points, displaying solid accuracy from the field. He has offered resistance to the Celtics on the court and held up defensively. However, the effort between him and LeBron alone is not enough, with further support needed from elsewhere. JR Smith was on song in the Conference Semi-Finals as the Cavaliers eased past the Toronto Raptors. However, his shooting from the perimeter has been putrid against the Celtics. In game two he failed to record a point, missing with all his seven attempts from the field, including four three-pointers. He also made the play that allowed Boston to see out the victory with ease by blatantly shoving Horford on an alley-oop.

He needs to find his rhythm at home otherwise Cleveland will be surely out of contention. George Hill and Jeff Green also had significant time on the court and failed to produce. The Cavaliers have to start hitting their shots from distance and competing to deny Boston free attempts at the rim. There appears to be an effort issue, which could be down the age of the side and the youthful nature of Boston. It remains to be seen whether Lue’s men are capable of raising their game at home to keep their series alive.

Breakdown

The Celtics are in command of the series and Cleveland have to bounce back to stand a chance of reaching the Finals for the fourth year on the bounce. LeBron put forward an excellent effort with a 42-point performance, but now he needs his team-mates to provide the support. Boston have been impressive on defense throughout the season and will not relent. It’s a question of how much Cleveland are willing to battle to get on the board.

The shooting will have to improve from the perimeter, with the onus on Smith, Hill and George all needing to reach double figures at the least. LeBron is not going to be able to carry the team as the series progresses as he puts greater exertion out on the court. The Celtics have youth on their side and a decent rotation to keep their key men fresh. With the NBA Finals in sight, Boston could put themselves on the brink with the Quicken Loans Arena. Back the Celtics for the win at +235   on BetOnline, while take the Celtics to cover the +5.5 spread at odds of +107   with 888Sport.

Tips Summary

Boston Celtics To Beat Cleveland Cavaliers Game Three
Saturday 19th May 2018 20:30 ET (Sunday 20th May 2018 01:30 BST)
Odds: +235

Boston Celtics To Cover +5.5 Spread
Saturday 19th May 2018 20:30 ET (Sunday 20th May 2018 01:30 BST)
Odds: +107