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On Wednesday, January 3rd, the (24-12) Cleveland Cavaliers will be on the road to take on the (30-10) Boston Celtics.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Cavaliers 108.1 – Celtics 101.2 with an over/under of 209.3.
Statistics (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Celtics +5.0 (4th) > Cavaliers +2.8 (7th)
Points per game: Cavaliers 110.1 (5th) > Celtics 103.3 (20th)
Points allowed per game: Celtics 98.3 (2nd) > Cavaliers 107.3 (23rd)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Cavaliers 47.8% (5th) > Celtics 45.2% (19th)
Three Point Percentage: Cavaliers 38.1% (5th) > Celtics 37.5% (8th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Celtics 43.6% (2nd) > Cavaliers 46.9% (26th)
Turnovers committed per game: Celtics 13.3 (7th) > Cavaliers 14.0 (16th)
Turnovers forced per game: Celtics 13.7 (20th) > Cavaliers 13.3 (25th)
Rebounds per game: Celtics 43.9 (13th) > Cavaliers 41.8 (21st)
Assists per game: Cavaliers 23.5 (5th) > Celtics 22.1 (17th)
The Celtics are (6-4) in their last ten games and (16-5) at home this season. Last time these teams faced off was opening night when Gordon Hayward suffered his gruesome leg injury. Even without Hayward, Brad Stevens has his team atop the Eastern Conference. Boston is a top five team in numerous defensive categories including points per game and opponent field goal percentage. Kyrie Irving is averaging 24.7 points per game while shooting career highs both from the field (48.9%) and from three (40.4%). Youngsters Jaylen Brown (14.5 PPG) and Jayson Tatum (14.2 PPG) have developed quicker than many expected. Al Horford (13.8 PPG and 7.9 RPG) remains one of the most consistent players in the league and is vastly underrated. The weakness of the Celtics is their bench which ranks 23rd in scoring (18.7 PPG). The Celtics average 103.3 points per game (20th) while allowing 98.3 (2nd).
Cleveland is currently riding a three-game losing streak but are (6-4) in their last ten games. The Cavaliers are (10-8) on the road this season. Isaiah Thomas is expected to make his long-awaited Cavaliers debut soon but it is still unknown when that will occur. Meanwhile, Lebron James (27.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 9.1 APG) is enjoying arguably his greatest statistical season at age 33. Kevin Love (20.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG) is having his best season as a Cavalier shooting a career high 47.1% from the field. Dwyane Wade (11.2 PPG), Jeff Green (10.8 PPG), and Kyle Korver (10.0 PPG) anchor a bench unit that ranks 7th in scoring (39.9 PPG). The Cavaliers are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the league but their transition defense has been atrocious at times. Still, they have the best player in the world and a strong supporting cast. The Cavaliers average 110.1 points per game (5th) and allow 107.3 PPG (23rd).
The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 102-99 in Cleveland on opening night but much has changed since then. Jose Calderon will trouble keeping Kyrie Irving from attacking the paint and having a huge game. The Celtics have the length and athleticism to match up with Cleveland but they have to get some scoring from their bench. The Cavaliers are an older team and will be on the second night of a back to back. The line of Celtics (+6.9) seems weak for a Boston team that has dominated at home. The Celtics will at least cover but I like them to beat a Cleveland team that has struggled as of late.
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