Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics - Saturday 01:35
Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a fairly comfortable 117-104 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with Boston Celtics and know another win at TD Garden will mean they probably won’t have to head back to Boston until next season.
The Cavs swept Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors in their first playoff assignments and are on course to do the same to a Celtics side who have already played five games more. Boston did show a bit of fight in Game 1 after trailing by 21 points at the midway point, but in truth the game was already beyond them at that stage and another strong start by the visitors in the second TD Garden meeting could well take the series out of their reach.
The Cavs now lead the Celtics 4-1 over the course of the season as a whole and the one victory Boston managed came in March, when Cleveland had already started to ease off ahead of their postseason bid. LeBron James has massively upped his game in the playoffs and he grabbed 38 points in the first meeting earlier this week. Ominously, he warned he didn’t think the Cavs had “played that great” post-match despite the 13-point win and another big margin of victory looks to be on the cards later. The point spread was -4 in Game 1 but the new mark is -5.5, which still looks a good option at around evens.
However, given the Cavs record against the Eastern Conference’s top seeds and the manner of their win earlier this week it makes sense to be a bit braver and take the odds against on Cleveland with a -7.5 handicap in the alternative spread.