LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in a must-win situation tonight when they travel to Boston to face the Celtics on the brink of elimination down 3-2. The Cavaliers could have taken a lead in the series if they hadn’t been totally dominated in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
James had his worst game of the postseason and it showed on the scoreboard as the Cavaliers were routed 120-88 as 7-point home favorites at Bovada. LeBron netted only 15 points in the loss while shooting a dismal 3-of-14. James not only looked flat on the statsheet he also looked incredibly flat on the court, taking bad shots and playing equally poor defense.
If that LeBron shows up tonight the Cavs could be done, and it could also be his last game in a Cleveland uniform with free agency beckoning in the offseason.
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Shaquille O’Neal tried to pick up the slack on Tuesday night with 21 points and Anthony Parker netted 14 points, but no other Cleveland player scored in double figures. Mo Williams had only nine points on 3-of-8 shooting and Antawn Jamison also scored only nine points on 4-of-10 shooting.
While the Cavs stumbled the Celtics delivered what could be the knockout blow in the series. Boston shot 55% in the win and a solid 53% from three-point range. Ray Allen netted a game-high 25 points while shooting 6-of-9 from behind the arc, and Paul Pierce added 21 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.
Rajon Rondo followed up his triple-double in Game 4 with a much quieter performance, but only because Cleveland made it their mission to shut him down in the opening half. Despite the blanket defense Rondo still put up 16 points and seven assists.
The Celtics are a slim 1-point home favorite for tonight’s game as they try to close out the series. History is with them at least as they have dominated the Cavaliers at home in recent years.
The Celtics split the two games at home with the Cavs earlier in the series, but in their last 13 at home against Cleveland they are 11-2 SU. They’re also 13-7 in their last 20 games as the favorite, while the Cavs are 7-13 in their last 20 as the underdog.