James, Cavaliers sending a strong message

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

May 20, 2017 04:02 AM
ljames
It turned ugly early Friday in Boston. LeBron James scored 30 points in three quarters, and the favored Cavaliers embarrassed the Celtics 130-86 in Game 2 of the East finals.
© USA Today Sports Images

A message has been sent. LeBron James is not clowning around, and it’s way too soon to crown the Golden State Warriors.

It’s routine to overreact to one game in the NBA playoffs, but after the Cleveland Cavaliers handed down back-to-back beatdowns in Boston, LeBron has gained believers.

“LeBron is playing like a locomotive and you can’t stop him,” South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said. “I know the Warriors are a very, very good team, but this kid is capable of beating anybody.”

James and the Cavaliers turned the Celtics into the Washington Generals on Friday night, when “Sweet Georgia Brown” should have been whistling in the background as the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference got played for a bunch of stooges.

James scored 30 points in three quarters, and Cleveland embarrassed Boston 130-86 in Game 2 of the East finals.

The Cavaliers led 11-10 when Vaccaro left his South Point office. When he arrived home and checked the score, it was 72-31 at the half, the largest halftime lead in NBA playoff history.

“Dumbfounded. I thought it was a mistake,” Vaccaro said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff, but I haven’t seen what I’ve seen lately.”

Not long ago, Golden State was more than a 3-1 favorite over Cleveland in a possible NBA Finals matchup. South Point sports book director Chris Andrews has lowered the line to Warriors minus-250, with the Cavaliers at plus-210.

The proposition price on Golden State going 16-0 in the playoffs is back to where it opened — “No” minus-1,100 and “Yes” plus-700.

“The Warriors are not sweeping this team, not if Cavs are playing like this,” Andrews said.

James is playing the best basketball of his life, which is saying a lot, and the Cavaliers are certainly a serious threat to repeat as NBA champions.

Here are some impressive numbers:

* Cleveland has won 13 consecutive playoff games, tied with the 1988-89 Lakers for the longest streak in NBA history.

* The Cavaliers are 34-4 against East opponents in the past three postseasons.

* James has scored at least 30 points in eight straight playoff games, becoming the first player to do so since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970.

* James is 20-0 in series (soon to be 21-0) when his team takes a 2-0 lead.

The NBA announced Friday that James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard were the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award. It’s the first time since 2008 that James is not in the top three, and it shows the MVP voting is nonsense.

The Cavaliers closed as 5-point favorites in their 44-point blowout of Boston. The Celtics did cover — and this is not a joke — the peak in-game wagering line of 44½. So they had that going for them, which is nice.

Underdog bettors are not amused. Home ‘dogs are 2-14 against the spread in the NBA playoffs this year.

Two teams are clearly superior to the rest of the field, yet the perceived gap between Golden State and Cleveland is closing.

The cool, casual Warriors should be worried. James has sent a strong message out West.

back to news

QuickPicks_300x250_080920_NFLkickoff

Headlines

View All
  • Magny should shine in Fight Island 8

    Magny should shine in Fight Island 8

    Wednesday’s UFC event begins at 6 a.m. Pacific Time, so the theme might as well be Beatdowns and Bagels. Max Holloway dominated Calvin Kattar...
  • Watch bombers in Palm Springs event

    Watch bombers in Palm Springs event

    Kevin Na shot 61-65 on the weekend to win the Sony Open in Hawaii at as high as 80-1 odds. Na (40-1) will attempt to win in back-to-back weeks this week...
  • Schedule critical in CBB futures bets

    Schedule critical in CBB futures bets

    Last week we discussed the importance of taking a positive approach to college basketball futures betting. That is, focus on playing plus numbers instead...
  • First impressions as hockey returns

    First impressions as hockey returns

    It’s great to have hockey back, but bettors must temper their expectations and trust their preseason projections. Therefore, this is a great time...
  • Tuley's Takes on Championship Sunday

    Tuley's Takes on Championship Sunday

    The NFL’s divisional playoff round was a mixed bag for us here at the Tuley’s Takes home office, though I spent Saturday at Circa with VSiN...
  • Injuries dog Chiefs, but Packers on roll

    Injuries dog Chiefs, but Packers on roll

    And then there were four. We’re looking forward to what is maybe the single best day on the NFL calendar: Championship Sunday. The matchups are...
  • Championship Sunday: Sifting recent trends

    Championship Sunday: Sifting recent trends

    For as different as this NFL season has been due to the impact of COVID-19, the first two weeks of the playoffs have generally followed the trends of...
  • How to gain edge betting CBB rematches

    How to gain edge betting CBB rematches

    (To view the charts with this report, subscribe to Point Spread Weekly) In a typical college basketball season, and to a lesser degree this season,...
  • Mahomes mystery puts oddsmakers in bind

    Mahomes mystery puts oddsmakers in bind

    It’s generally easy for oddsmakers to post lines on most NFL games. The numbers are typically airtight, unlike in college football. A quarterback...
  • Championship Sunday capsules

    Championship Sunday capsules

    NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Buccaneers at Packers (3:05 p.m. ET Sunday) The Packers opened as consensus four-point home favorites against the...
  • With Pacers surging, Clippers on long haul

    With Pacers surging, Clippers on long haul

    Another week gone, and bettors have yet to see any NBA team separate itself from the pack. The Los Angeles Lakers seem like the surest thing on the board,...
  • 10 months in making, going all in on Bucs

    10 months in making, going all in on Bucs

    I made some bets on the Buccaneers last March that are now very much alive. These were placed the night before Tom Brady announced where he was signing....

Google Play
App Store
Close