The Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls series has definitely been the most entertaining of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. First, Derrick Rose capped off his team’s Game 3 victory with a winning bank-shot three-pointer. Then, with 1.5 seconds remaining, LeBron James hit a game-winner for Cleveland to even the series at 2-2. Given all of this drama, what should we expect for Game 5, as action heads back to Cleveland? We’ll discuss this, but first, take a look at the Game 5 betting line:
Game Time: Tuesday (May 12th) at 7:00pm ET
GTBets.eu Betting Line:
Cleveland -5.5 (-110) Over 191 (-110)
Chicago (-110) Under (-110)
Injuries will play a Huge Role
Think the Kevin Love injury was the worst of it for either team in this series? Not even close, with Kyrie Irving playing some of his worst basketball of the year with a sore foot and knee tendinitis. LeBron has a twisted ankle and isn’t 100% either. On the Bulls’ side, All-Star center Pau Gasol has now missed one and a half games with a strained hamstring, and his availability for Game 5 will be a game-time decision.
So the -5.5 line for Cleveland could easily be higher or lower depending upon how the injuries play out in tonight’s game. James claims that his swollen ankle isn’t too severe, despite the treatment that he’s been getting.
Irving doesn’t sound like he’s going to be much healthier for Game 5 than he’s been for most of the series. “It’s just about finding ways to be more effective, especially being out there,” the Cavs point guard said. “I still can shoot. You still have to respect me out there. It’s not like they can just leave me or anything like that. But I just try to use myself as a decoy and make plays as best I can.”
Besides injuries, both teams have suffered from very poor shooting. Call it good defense, or call it gimpy players, but both teams have taken turns being inconsistent. James and Irving combined for 12-of-40 shooting and 37 points last game, while the Bulls’ two offensive stars, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, combined for a more-respectable 19-of-44 and 50 points.
But Rose and Butler have also been guilty of two off nights during this series. That said, Game 5 could really come down to which All-Star pairing shoots the ball better from the field.
Can the Bulls Front Court find Consistency?
When Gasol is healthy, Chicago has the deepest front court in the league. However, down one man last game, the Bulls bigs just didn’t produce. Joakim Noah was actually the best shooter among the group with a 4-for-12 performance (8PTS), while Taj Gibson (2-of-7, 6PTS), Mike Dunleavy (1-of-7, 4PTS) and Nikola Mirotic (1-of-9, 4PTS) will all be hoping for much better days from the field.
This could certainly happen if Gasol plays tonight, as he’s been excellent at knocking down mid-range jumpers and spreading the floor for guys like Gibson and Noah to score inside. But if Gasol doesn’t play, then it allows Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov to stay in the paint against Gibson and Noah.
Final Score Prediction: Cleveland 93 – Chicago 90