Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers (-11, 203 o/u)
Oh what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, Kyrie Irving and company were hoping for a lottery pick. Now, the Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29, 31-10 home) are the No. 2 seed and have aspirations of an NBA Title. Up first is matchup with the surging Boston Celtics (40-42, 19-22 away).
Despite having an up and down season – especially early – lately, LeBron James likes what he sees out of the team, which added Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Timofey Mozgov over the course of the year.
“We’ve been playing the right way – win, lose or draw – we’ve played the right way,” James said. “We’ve stuck to our system and I think it’s built some great habits for us going into the postseason.”
While a favorite to win it all, the Cavs will be facing a Celtics team that who record belies its true strength. Boston’s season-ending win (105-100) over the Milwaukee Bucks has the team entering the postseason on a six-game win streak.
Just like the Cavs helped themselves with trades, so did the Celtics, going 20-10 after Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko, and Gigi Datome joined the team mid-season.
“I’m happy for the players [to make the postseason],” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “They’ve really played great the last two months. We dug ourselves a hole and we’re lucky to be where we are after starting the season the way we did. It’s like I told those guys [earlier this week], this group that’s been together, just for  games, but they’ve been pretty darn good in those  games.”
Because the Cavs are a mediocre 39-43-0 ATS and Boston is still surprising with its play, take the Celtics and the points (+11).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (20090930-6029) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)