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Monday NBA Betting Preview

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to take a 2-0 series lead on the Chicago Bulls tonight when they clash at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs put the Bulls in a quick 1-0 hole on Saturday night with a 96-83 win in Game 1. Cleveland was an 11.5-point favorite in the game and were able to cover the double-digit spread. James played his first game in almost two weeks after sitting out the Cavs final four regular season games. King James looked healthy and rested after putting up 24 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Cleveland also welcomed back Shaquille O’Neal, who played his first game since February after having surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. Shaq also looked ready for a long playoff run with 12 points and six rebounds. Not only did the nearly two months off give O’Neal time to rest, but he also trimmed down and lost 20 pounds.

Cleveland also received 19 points and 10 assists from Mo Williams in the win, while Antwan Jamison chipped in with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 28 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, but he also had seven turnovers. Luol Deng had 12 points and Joakim Noah muscled his way to 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Bulls look overmatched in Game 1 and fell behind quickly. They tried to mount a second half comeback, but couldn’t match the intensity of the well-rested Cavaliers. While Cleveland was basically taking the last week of the regular season off the Bulls had to win every game just to get into the post season. It definitely showed on Saturday night and the Bulls need to address this or it could be a short series.

The oddsmakers are expecting another easy win for Cleveland tonight after plugging in the Cavs as a 10.5-point favorite.

Also on tap tonight is Game 2 between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets took a 1-0 series lead on Saturday with a 126-113 win as 6-point favorites. Carmelo Anthony roasted the Jazz with a game-high 42 points, while Deron Williams led the Jazz with 26 points and 11 assists. Denver has won seven-straight at home versus Utah and are a 7-point favorite in tonight’s game.