Celtics and Cavaliers open series
The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers meet at the TD Garden on Sunday in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Cavaliers will be looking to make a fourth consecutive run to the NBA Finals, while the Celtics have not reached the Finals since 2010.
Pushed to seven games by the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round of the post-season, the Celtics had an easier time against the Philadelphia 76ers as they secured the series triumph in five games.
Nonetheless, Boston saw the future against the Sixers and the reality that Philadelphia is likely to be very good for a long time.
Similarly the Cavs had a tough series against the Indiana Pacers to start the play-offs and had to go the full seven games before prevailing.
The sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the second round contributed to the firing of Dwane Casey in Toronto, who could never translate regular season success into post-season momentum.
Cleveland took two of three from Boston during the regular season and the Cavaliers and Celtics were meeting in the season opener when Gordon Hayward was injured and lost for the season.
Without Hayward and Kyrie Irving, the likes of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum must step up for Boston, while Cleveland continues to rely on LeBron James.
He has averaged 34 points in the post-season, with Kevin Love the next best Cavalier with 14 points per game.
By contrast the Celtics have Tatum and Brown, along with Terry Rozier and Al Horford who are all averaging 16.9 points or more per game.
Cleveland are 8/5 to win the series against the Celtics, with Boston priced at 10/19.
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