Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 4:00 PM
If there’s one thing LeBron James learned when playing for the Miami Heat, it’s that the energy you save early in the playoffs can be very useful when you’re trying to win a championship! He’s certainly imparted that message to his new Cleveland Cavaliers teammates. Game Three of the Cleveland/Boston series this past Thursday night very clearly featured a favorite turning its intensity on and off in an attempt to win with the bare minimum of energy exerted.
They would relax with a lead. They would stand around on offense for 15 seconds until LeBron led an attack at the basket (boring to watch, but hell for defenses to deal with because he’s a Hall-of-Famer and has shooters to pass to when the defense converges on him). You’d think that would set up a Game Four replay that would hopefully (from their perspective) give them plenty of rest before a second round showdown with Chicago.
Of course, the betting markets know this…and have lifted the Cavs up to -8 in that early Sunday tip. Is that too high if Boston isn’t going to just lay down and cooperate? Are the Cavs in danger of taking their foot so far off the gas that they could lose Sunday then have to head back home Tuesday to wrap things up? Let’s look for clues in the Thursday night boxscore…
GAME THREE STATS
Cleveland 103, Boston 95
Shooting Pct: Cleveland 45%, Boston 44%
Three-Pointers: Cleveland 12/29, Boston 5/19
Free Throws: Cleveland 15/24, Boston 18/21
Rebounds: Cleveland 45, Boston 44
Turnovers: Cleveland 11, Boston 15
Vegas Line: Cleveland by 6.5, total of 204.5
Hard to find any clear weak spots for the Cavs outside of some lapses at the free throw line. They can pretty much do what they want to in this matchup because of their dramatic personnel advantages. They’re so good they can win by eight points while Kyrie Irving spends long stretches standing idly by watching his teammates (by design, you know Kyrie wants the ball in his hands but is deferring to the veteran). Cleveland can “coast” to 45% with an edge in treys and turnovers. They can break even in rebounding with generic effort. It’s granted that this isn’t going to be a series. Will we have a GAME on Sunday?
Sunday’s Vegas Line: Cleveland by 8, total of 203.5
It all comes down to motivation. If Cleveland decides to hit its highest gear to get things over with…then they can name the score. If Cleveland decides to just replay Game Three…then we’re going to be right near the number. If Cleveland relaxes too much against a team that wants to keep playing at 100% (which seems likely for this group and this head coach), then an upset isn’t out of the question.
JIM HURLEY will be working very closely with his on site sources to get the best read possible on the Cavs’ mindset. NETWORK clients will pass the game if there’s no edge to be found…but will get a very clear go-ahead if our crack scouts find the right indicator. There’s plenty to choose from on Sunday, so we won’t force a play in Cavs/Celtics.
Also on Sunday’s card:
*Game Four of the LA Clippers/San Antonio, a showcase showdown in a series that’s being played at a conference championship level much of the time.
*Game Four of Toronto/Washington as the Raptors try to figure out how to recapture their regular season form in a must-win game.
*Game Four of Houston/Dallas as the sports world wonders what’s becoming of the Mark Cuban/Rick Carlisle era in the Metroplex.
That plus baseball will be just a few clicks away early Sunday before the games gets started. You can always purchase BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 this weekend or during normal business hours next week.
A big week ahead with either series finishes in the NBA Playoffs or some bonus baseball if everything ends early. Here’s what’s on tap…
Monday: Game Four of Memphis/Portland
Tuesday: Game Five of San Antonio/LA Clippers
Wednesday: Game Five of Washington/Toronto, Brooklyn/Atlanta, or Portland/Memphis
Thursday: Game Six Preview of the best remaining matchup
Friday: Game Six Preview of the best remaining matchup
Saturday: Game Seven Preview (if any, baseball otherwise)
Sunday: Game Seven Preview (if any, baseball otherwise)
The first week of action has largely lacked drama outside of a few spots. At least things got interesting once some of the lesser teams got to play at home. Intensity is going to pick up this week…and then will start moving toward a fever pitch next week and beyond. As the NBA battles through the brackets to crown its champion…you need the guidance of WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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