NBA: Series shift favors the Celtics
Don’t you just love the drama of the NBA Finals? Everything is overanalyzed, everyone is seeking a unique storyline and all the conjecture goes right to the top. One day the Lakers are invincible, the next they might not play another game this season in Los Angeles. Such is now the case after the Celtics dismantled the Lakers in Game 2 of the best-of-7 series. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Boston and the hosts are 2.5-point favorites according to Sportsbook.com.
Boston is in the same predicament as Doc Rivers noted. “We lose and were old, we win and we have veteran experience.”
The easiest aspect to lose sight of is this is a series, a best of seven. That alone usually means twists and turns, especially when it is The Finals.
Face the facts, Boston has too much leadership and experience to go down like a Cleveland, they have players that will find a way to contribute, even if a part of their game is not working 100 percent perfectly.
The Celtics return home where they are 31-19 and 19-30-1 ATS this season (7-2 SU & ATS in the playoffs). While Boston fans and backers are psyched that they can end the series at home, it’s extremely unlikely to happen. As noted, the Celtics are far from a sure thing or bet at home and the Bryant surly attitude after Sunday’s loss would suggest he will come with a vengeance, if the referee’s let both teams play.
Both games in the Finals have gone Over the total, however not based on level of skill shown, rather by referee’s enjoying the tweeting of their whistles and evidently TV time. As compared to the Stanley Cup Finals where penalties are down compared to the rest of the playoffs, the basketball fouls are coming faster than Twitter ‘tweets”.
As John Hollinger of ESPN.com points out, after two contests the numbers show an average of 56 fouls and 67 free throws compared to regular season average of 41.7 and 49.1 per game, respectively. Though playoff basketball tends to be slower and more physical and a few more fouls would be expected to be called since teams will not concede layups as often. Nonetheless, the fouls for a four quarter Finals confrontation are up over 20 percent compared to the rest of the postseason.
NBA fans are not turning on The Finals to see Bryant, Ray Allen and several other players on the bench with ticky-tacky fouls that are not even called during the regular season.
In spite of the defeat, the Phil Jackson and company can’t be totally depressed. It took the best deep shooting performance ever by Allen and a triple-double by Rondo to knock off the Lakers with Bryant and Lamar Odom glued to the bench with fouls for lengthy periods. Though it is earlier than a couple of the other series they’ve played, L.A. is 18-6 ATS when tied in a playoff series since 1996.
Boston will look to keep the pressure on with Rondo forcing the issue with the ball and feeding the C’s big guys in the paint, to keep Pau Gasol and others busy, opening up the mid-range jump shooting game the Celtics prefer.
Sportsbook.com has Rivers club as 2.5-point favorites with total of 193. It will be worth watching how both teams react in the first half traveling across the country and playing a game of this magnitude less than 48 hours after completing the prior conflict and losing additional three hours for time zone shift.
The rest aspect could be important for sports betting purposes with Boston 7-2 ATS with one day between contests and the Lakers 5-14 ATS.
Los Angeles is 13-3 UNDER in road games revenging a straight up loss as a home favorite, while the home team for Game 3 is 7-3 UNDER as playoff favorite.
The starting time moves back to 9:00 Eastern, with the Celtics 4-2 and 4-1-1 ATS when the Lake Show makes an appearance in Bean-Town the last three years.
The StatFox Power Line shows Boston by 6, but oddsmakers couldn’t possibly put out a number that high.
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