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In Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge decided that it would be a great idea to toss a towel in the air during a free throw taken by Cleveland Cavaliers F JJ Hickson. The move cost him $25,000 in fines from the NBA. Now, the two teams will take the court in NBA betting action once again for Game 3 at Boston Garden on Friday night.
Cleveland Cavaliers (-1) @ Boston Celtics
Thursday May 7th, 2010
7:00 ET, TD Banknorth Garden
Cleveland Notes: Do the Cavs have the ability to flip the switch at this point? They were jostled around a bit in Game 1 before storming back from a late deficit to knock off Boston in Game 1, but were pummeled into submission in a Game 2 defeat at "The Q." Aside from F LeBron James, who scored a pedestrian 24 points, no one else really put together a strong effort for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. F Antawn Jamison scored 16, while F JJ Hickson put up a 13 point effort off of the bench. Aside from that though, no one really came to play. HC Mike Brown knows that all of the role players around his franchise star need to pick up their play, or Cleveland is going to fall behind 2-1 in this best of seven set.
Boston Notes: The Celtics did what they had to do in Game 2 and took home court advantage away from the Cavs. However, holding serve at Boston Garden has been difficult all year, as the C's went just 12-28-1 ATS there in the regular season. All five starters scored in double digits for Boston in Game 2, and the hero once again was G Rajon Rondo, who had 13 points to go with 19 assists. He now has 40 points and 31 helpers from the two games in Cleveland, clearly making him the MVP of HC Doc Rivers' squad heading back to Beantown. F Kevin Garnett, who has scored 18 points and ripped down ten rebounds in each of the first two games of this series, is listed as questionable for Friday night's Game 3 due to a strained foot that has held him out of practice.
Trends of Note: The Cavaliers are still a solid 11-4 ATS in their L/15 duels with Boston, including posting a 7-3 ATS mark in Beantown in their L/10 visits. The C's are just 3-7 ATS in their L/10 games following an outing in which they scored at least 100 points, but they're an amazing 8-2-1 ATS in their L/11 games as home underdogs. Cleveland is 8-2 ATS in its L/10 playoff games as favorites of less than five points and is 18-7-1 ATS in its L/26 Eastern Conference semifinal battles. The Cavs are also a rock solid 12-5 ATS in their L/17 NBA betting battles coming off of at least three days of rest.
The Final Word: This is the game that the Cavaliers really have to go ahead and flip the switch. They're clearly the superior team in this series at least in terms of what's on paper, and even though the Celtics look like they're going to be an annoyance in this series, they still shouldn't be a huge issue. Cleveland can expect a massive game out of King James in his efforts to bring his city a championship before his potential free agency this summer. Look for the Cavs to take back home court advantage by thumping Boston on its home court on Friday night.
Prediction: Cleveland 99 – Boston 87