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Cleveland Looks to Return to Third Straight NBA Finals

On Thursday, Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals best of seven series will be played when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. The current line has Cleveland favored by 10 points with the over/under point total on 215.5.

Cleveland is one win from joining Golden State for the third consecutive season in the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers lead the series 3-1 and can eliminate the Celtics and move on to the Finals with a win on the Thursday.

Cleveland extended its lead in the series to 3-1 with a 112-99 victory in Game 4 with Kyrie Irving scoring 42 points and LeBron James 34. A strong second half from Cleveland in which the Cavaliers outscored Boston by 23 points was the difference.

Home court has not helped the Celtics against Cleveland as they were losers of both Games 1 and 2 to start the series at TD Garden. That included a 44-point loss in Game 2 which will not be easy to forget.

Irving scored 33 of his 42 points for the Cavaliers during a stretch of just 19 minutes in Game 4. James called the talented guard a “special kid.” James was able to overcome some early foul problems to hit 15 of his 27 shots during the game after scoring just 11 in Game 3.

Boston guard Marcus Smart had been given the “hero”  label for Game 3 after scoring 27 points as he played exceptionally well in place of Isaiah Thomas who was lost to a hip injury. However, Smart could not follow up his strong outing in Game 4 hitting only 1 of his 9 shots.

Jae Crowder fought through an injured groin for Boston in Game 4 to score 18 points and pull down 8 rebounds.

Boston backup center Kelly Olynyk has averaged 15 points during the last two games after only scoring 2 total points over Games 1 and 2.

Cleveland power forward Kevin Love is enjoying a much better series recording a double-double in each of the four games during the series while averaging 24.4 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.

Cleveland is 6-0-1 against the spread in its past 7 games on the road.

Boston is 11-4 ATS in its past 15 games played.

Prediction: Cleveland is too much for undermanned Boston. Lean toward the Cavaliers to win and cover on Thursday.

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