After getting unceremoniously spanked in their humbling 108-83 Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to bounce back in a big way when Game 2 goes down live from TD Garden on Tuesday night. If you’re looking to cash in on this intriguing pairing and you’re wondering whether the Cavs are the pick to cover the chalk or if they’re in for an uphill battle against the active Celtics, then let’s get to my expert NBA Conference Finals betting pick right now.


Game Information

What: Cleveland Cavaliers (58-35) at Boston Celtics (63-31)
When: Tuesday, May 15 at 8:30 PM ET
Where: TD Garden
The Line: Boston Celtics pk -110 | U 203½ -110


The Cavaliers got completely dominated by Boston in Game 1 with LeBron James getting held to just 15 points on 5 of 16 shooting and 0 of 5 shooting from three-point distance. Cleveland did get a team-high 17 points from Kevin Love while Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson added 11 and 10 points respectively off the bench. Cleveland shot a dismal 36.0 percent from the field and made just 4 of 26 from beyond the arc (15.4%). Still, James said he wasn’t concerned afterward.

NBA Conference Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics

“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” said James. “I’ve been down before in the postseason, but for me, there’s never any level of concern — no matter how bad I played tonight, with seven turnovers, how inefficient I was shooting the ball,” he added. “We have another opportunity to be better as a ball club coming on Tuesday night, and we’ll see what happens.”

Boston got a team-high 23 points from Jaylen Brown on 9 of 16 shooting while Marcus Morris added 21 big points and 10 rebounds after getting the start in this series. Al Horford added 20 points and gifted rookie Jayson Tatum added 16 points on an efficient 6 of 11 shooting. The Celtics shot a healthy 51.2 percent from the field and made a respectable 11 of 30 from beyond the arc (36.7%) to get the win. Boston had their way in the lane by scoring a whopping 60 points in the paint. Morris, for his part, lived up to his talk that he could guard James as well as any player in the league.

“He’s obviously the best player in the game,” said Morris, who also explained why he wanted the challenge of guarding James.  “Because I’m a competitor. He’s the best player, and I’m going to be able to tell my kids this one day.”

NBA Conference Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics 3

While the Cavs made a push to trim the lead to 14 points in the third quarter, Boston never flinched and finished off their conference rivals with a flourish in the fourth quarter.


Prediction

While LeBron James says he has “zero concern” after Game 1, I’m thinking he should have plenty of concern, to be honest with you NBA fans and betting enthusiasts.

First and foremost, the Celtics aren’t ‘scared’ of James and that is crucial to getting past him in the postseason. To put things bluntly, this quote pretty much sums up the Celtics succinctly.

“Our confidence level is very high,” said Morris, who recorded the first postseason double-double of his career. “The younger guys to the older guys, we think we can compete and play with anybody. At the end of the day, all the talking is done off the court.”

NBA Conference Finals Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics 22

Boston probably has the best coach in the league right now in Brad Stevens and they will not be intimidated by anyone (sorry LeBron). The C’s share the ball well and really, outside of LeBron James, has the better roster in this series. I know the Cavs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven Conference Finals games, but Boston has gone a robust 14-2 ATS in their last 16 home games and a bankroll-boosting 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games overall.

Boston is 8-0 SU at home in the playoffs and I believe they’re going to find a way to get it done in Game 2 against Cleveland thanks mostly to their depth, their mental fortitude and ability to share the rock. I like the C’s to win and cover the chalk in this contest.

Pick: Boston Celtics pk -110


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