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NBA preview and tips: Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics

Two teams at the top of the tree clash in the early hours of Thursday morning (GMT) as the 44-17 Boston Celtics welcome the 39-25 Cleveland Cavaliers to TD Garden. Check out our suggested bet.

Both sides can be pleased with their efforts in February, posting a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, but Cleveland has momentum. They sunk their claws into the Raptors' defence, building an early lead and outscoring their opponents during every quarter.

Conversely, Boston found themselves trailing the Knicks by 12 at the half, and they'll be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 15-point loss.

They shot a meagre 44 per cent and were outshot 34-14 in the free throw department, culminating in a frustrated Jayson Tatum being kicked out of the game.
Discipline will be key against a Cleveland side that has allowed just 108.45 points per game on their travels and currently ranks as the third-best defence in the NBA. The Cavs have now held 19 opponents to 99 or fewer points, and if you're not familiar with the NBA - that is MEAN!

Boston themselves are no shrinking violet when it comes to displaying defensive capabilities.

They rank fourth, but that hasn't stopped the last three meetings between these two sides from averaging 231 points. Keep an open mind about betting over the total, particularly given the rate Boston scores on home court.
From a statistical viewpoint, the Cavaliers have seized their opportunity on the back of a blowout victory. The Cavs are 5-0ATS on the back of a double-digit win, and 5-2ATS after any straight-up win, but it's hard to make a clear case for them beyond those numbers.

Boston are rolling at home, winning 24 of 31 games. Cleveland, on the other hand, have lost 18 of 31.

Quite often they've made light work of small spreads at home, and they've saved their best work for teams winning 60 per cent or better of their games, going 14-3ATS. The signs do point to both a home win and cover the spread.
Going back to the total, even this Cleveland defence may struggle to contain the Celtics. They've averaged 121 points per game at TD Garden and they've made mince meat of teams with a losing road record.

They've often backed their ability to outscore the visitors and embraced a high-tempo game, resulting in 19 of their last 26 here going over the bookmaker's total.

Some of those have been pretty wild, too. Their 127-109 victory over Detroit, the 139-96 battering of Brooklyn, and a 127-116 win over the Hornets all demonstrate what this team can do on their night.
One more factor to consider is Cleveland has already beaten Boston twice this season, meaning the Celtics play with double revenge on their mind this evening.

Suggested bet

Boston -5.5

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