Will LeBron James Play in Cavs Season Opener Against Celtics?

lebron-james-top-heavy-rantLeBron James has missed several preseason games with a sprained ankle. This isn’t usually a big deal because many teams are cautious with players in the preseason. But what’s raised eyebrows is that King James is listed as questionable for the October 17 opening night game against Boston.

However, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue seems pretty sure that James will play in the opening game. He told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin the following:

“I think he’ll be OK, though. That would be a tough one for him personally to miss. There’s a lot of hype behind the game but like I told him, we got to be smart about it. It’s just one game, but I think he’ll be OK.”

James said that he’s frustrated by the injury. But it’s important that he doesn’t push things because ankle injuries are delicate. If the ligament becomes looser, then a player can easily re-injure it later. James actually re-aggravated his injury just a few days ago.

Cavs vs Celtics Opening Night 2017

Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have rosters that are quite different from the previous year.

The Cavs signed Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose in the offseason. They also made a big trade with the Boston Celtics that sent star point guard Kyrie Irving for Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas. Thomas won’t be available until Christmas time, but Crowder will make an immediate impact.

lebron-james-bench-1Meanwhile, the Celtics signed Gordon Hayward, and traded for Marcus Morris and Irving. Taking all of the big moves into account, it’s hard to pinpoint what we can expect from both teams.

This is especially the case on opening night because both squads are trying to make their lineups gel. This is proving really hard for the Cavaliers because they haven’t won a preseason game. Furthermore, their starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Wade, James, Crowder, and Kevin Love has yet to find any consistenty together.

The preseason doesn’t always mean a lot. But in this case, I strongly believe that it indicates the Celtics are more ready than Cleveland right now.

Cavs 2017 Futures

Don’t read too much into my comments above because the Cavaliers are still favored by many to win the Eastern Conference. This is the case in our GTBets futures too because we have the Cavs at -140 for winning the East.

kyrie-irving-celticsThe Celtics have the next best odds at +220. While Boston injected some serious talent this off-season, the problem is that they also had to give up Thomas, Crowder, and Avery Bradley.

Boston was a gritty defensive team last year thanks to Crowder, Bradley, and Marcus Smart. This year, they’ll have to develop a new identity after adding offensive-minded players like Irving and Hayward.

The future looks bright for Boston. But they could be one year away from being favorites in the East. The primary reason why is because LeBron has now made 7 straight trips to the NBA Finals.

While he’s dealing with a new roster in Cleveland this year, LeBron is still considered the best player in the NBA. That said, don’t be surprised to see the Cavs win yet another Eastern Conference title and move on to the championship.

Cavs vs Celtics Odds – Does Boston’s Game 3 Win Mean Anything?

cavs-celtics-game-4-oddsGame 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals was going about how people expected. The Cleveland Cavaliers were leading 77-56 midway through the third quarter, dominating the Celtics again on the heels of a 44-point victory.

Then Marcus Smart started heating up…

Normally known for his defense and hustle, Smart scored 27 points on 7-of-10 three-point shooting while starting in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas.

Smart’s production was much needed on a night when most of Boston’s players didn’t shoot great. But the supporting cast did enough in other areas to help Boston book a 111-108 victory.

Now the question remains, does this win mean anything moving forward? Or is it just one win that delays the inevitable? Let’s answer these questions below while previewing Game 4 of the Celtics-Cavs matchup.

Game 4: Cavs vs Celtics Odds (from GTBets.eu)

  • Point Spread: Boston +14.5 (-110) at Cleveland -14.5 (-110)
  • Money Line: Boston +1200 at Cleveland -2000
  • Over/Under: 215 (-110)
  • Game Time: May 23 at 8:30pm EST (Cavs lead series 2-1)

Celtics are Still Big Underdogs

marcus-smart-cavs-celticsBoston put everything they had into Game 3, and it resulted in an unlikely victory. There were several heroes in this game, including Smart, Avery Bradley (20 points, game winner), Jae Crowder (14 points, 11 rebounds), and Jonas Jerebko (10 points in 12 minutes).

“Pride, freedom and desperation, that’s what happened,” Kyrie Irving said of his opponents’ performance. “They played with it all. [Smart] got comfortable, and we let him.”

Despite the big win, nobody is penciling Boston in as favorites for Game 4. In fact, they’re a big underdog here at GTBets.eu at +14.5.

While it’s impressive that Boston was able to steal one in Cleveland, the fact remains that they’ll play the rest of the series without their best player and were battered by 44 points in Game 2. Given everything going against the Celtics, they’ll need to continue pulling magic out of their leprechaun hats to stay in this series.

LeBron James Had His Worst Playoff Performance

Irving and Kevin Love certainly did their part in Game 3, scoring 29 points and 28 points respectively. Kyrie was 10-of-15 from the field, while Love shot a blistering 7-for-13 from beyond the arc.

But the biggest downfall for Cleveland is that LeBron James just couldn’t find the basket. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Throw in 6 turnovers, and this was easily one of James’ worst playoff games ever.

Don’t expect this to happen again, though, given that LBJ has been amazing in every other postseason contest so far.

“LeBron has been consistent in his bounce-back attitude since Miami,” teammate James Jones said regarding LeBron. “He doesn’t change for us. I know he’s going to come into the facility [Monday] upbeat, like the loss helps us on this process.”

Can Smart Keep This Up?

As covered earlier, Marcus Smart had the playoff game of his life. He jolted this team to life with several three-pointers in the second half and also dished out 7 assists.

Nobody expects this kind of production out of Smart on a nightly basis. But with Thomas sidelined for the year with a hip injury, don’t be surprised to see his usage elevated.

We don’t expect any more 7-for-10 three-point performances again. However, Smart should continue scoring more for this shorthanded team.

Cavs Bench Needs to Play Better

A huge difference between the Cavs and Celtics was the play of their bench. Boston got 32 points from a combination of six players, while Cleveland got just 9 points from four bench players. What’s worse is that the Cavs reserves were a combined 3-of-14 shooting.

For the most part, Cleveland’s bench has been good. And they’ll certainly need more than what they delivered in Game 3.

What to Expect the Rest of the Way

Technically, the Celtics are back in this series. And coach Brad Stevens will continue using his best defensive lineups since they lack firepower without Thomas.

Smart and Bradley are an excellent defensive backcourt. Throw in Crowder’s defense at small forward, and it’s tougher for James and Irving to get shots any time they want.

Cleveland played a poor defensive game, as opposed to the excellent defense they’ve been playing since the Raptors series. Odds are that this is a fluke and we’ll see a much-more focused team in Game 4. James said as much himself during the post-game press conference.

“Let’s get back to playing desperate basketball,” he said. “and let all the narrative stop.”

With the Warriors trying for a sweep of the Spurs, don’t count on Cleveland giving Boston any more chances to extend this series.

Cavs vs Celtics Odds, April 5, 2017

kyrie-irving-isaiah-thomasThe Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics meet tomorrow night in a game that’ll decide first place in the Eastern Conference. Prior to tonight’s action, Boston leads the Cavaliers by a half game in the standings, making this a crucial contest with only 5 games left in the regular season.

The Cavaliers haven’t played their best basketball as of late, going 6-5 in their last 11 contests. Boston has been much better over the same stretch, going 9-2 in their past 11 games. This is a big reason why they suddenly find themselves leading the East, after Cleveland had led most of the year.

Can the Cavs regain the lead in an all-important battle for home-court advantage? Find out as we cover both team’s chances of winning along with their records against the spread (ATS).

Cavs (49-27) vs. Celtics (50-27); April 5 (Wed) @ 8:00pm EST
GTBets Line, Available April 5

Why the Cavs will Win

jr-smith-clevelandAs mentioned before, Cleveland has struggled lately.

March was a month to forget as they went 6-12. One of their losses was a 103-99 game against the Celtics at TD Garden. So is there any reason to think that they can make the result different this time?

For one thing, they’ve won two games in a row, having knocked off the Sixers 122-105 and Indiana Pacers 135-130 (2OT) over the weekend. The Pacers game was particularly notable because Cleveland had a back-and-forth battle, which should prepare them well for Boston.

Another thing going in the Cavs’ favor is that they’re getting players back at the right time. Korver will play for the first time in over a week against Orlando tonight.

J.R. Smith, who missed most of the year with a fractured finger, has been playing better of late, averaging 11.2 PPG and shooting 45.7% on three-pointers in the last five games. Given that Smith is shooting 34.6% overall, this is a massive improvement and shows that he’s returning to last year’s form.

It’s little surprise that LeBron James is on top of his game, averaging 27 PPG, 10.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in his past five contests. But the key will be getting Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love back in tune since they’re averaging just 18.5 PPG and 14.5 PPG over their last five games.

Cleveland has once again built the most-talented roster in the East. And with several players getting back into rhythm, they have what it takes to win tomorrow.

Cavs ATS Record: The Cavaliers are just 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games.

Why the Celtics will Win

isaiah-thomas-celticsThe present feels like it’s been determined from a March 1 meeting between these two teams, where Boston gritted out the aforementioned 103-99 victory. Going into that contest, Boston had lost 3 of their past 4 games. Since then, they’ve gone 12-5 while surging up the Eastern Conference standings.

Scheduling has helped a little bit, however, it’s not like Boston has been playing Division III college competition. They beat the Warriors 99-86 on Mar. 8, and have also defeated Washington, Indiana, and Miami over this stretch.

Team star Isaiah Thomas is playing as well as ever, scoring 30 points on 50.4% shooting over his last five games. Thomas has been outstanding all year – including games against the Cavs – so don’t be surprised to see him leading the way tomorrow.

jalen-brown-celticsRookie Jalen Brown is finding a bigger role for himself, averaging 9.6 PPG and shooting 58.1% over the last five contests. He could be the wild card in this battle against Cleveland.

Another wild card is shooting guard Avery Bradley, but for a different reason. Bradley has missed the past two games with an illness, but he’s expected to suit up tomorrow.

Of course, Boston will have the rest of its tough core on hand, including Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk, and Amir Johnson. With such a complete and well-rounded team, it’s not hard to see Boston winning this one, especially at home.

Boston ATS Record: Boston isn’t much better than the Cavs, going 4-6 ATS in their last 10 contests.

Final Thoughts on Cavs vs. Celtics Betting

There are three big factors that’ll play a role in this game:

1) Boston has had most of their players healthy and playing together throughout the year.
2) The Celtics are playing at home.
3) Cleveland will have played last night at Orlando.

While we don’t know if Boston has truly ascended to the top spot (TBD in playoffs), we think they have a few big edges right now going into Wednesday night’s game. This will be yet another close one since it could decide who gets home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. But we don’t see Boston losing this one at home since they’re hungry and want the No. 1 seed.

Final Score Prediction: Celtics win 105-99