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LeBron, Cavaliers Look To Build Off Win With Game 3 In Chicago On Friday

Posted by on 5/7/2015 9:53:41 PM

Nobody was harder on LeBron James than he himself following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of their second round series so it was no surprise when he did something about it. LeBron turned back the clock a bit and went back to his trademark headband look for Game 2 and while the headband’s mystical effects can be debated there is no doubt he was a force scoring a game-high 33 points with eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in a 106-91 win. LeBron will try to produce another dominant performance when the series shifts to Chicago for Game 2 on Friday night in what has been reduced to a Best-of-5. Here is a quick look at the best bets in the NBA for Friday night’s games.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Chicago Bulls

Game 3 – Best-of-7 Series tied 1-1

Friday, 8:00 PM ET

LeBron’s teams haven’t fallen behind 0-2 in a playoff series since his previous stint in Cleveland and after making sure it didn’t happen this year he and the Cavaliers will now turn their attention to recapturing home court advantage with a win on Friday. James led all scorers with 33 points but Kyrie Irving was excellent again as he chipped in with 21 points while Iman Shumpert and James Jones combined to score 32. Cleveland will welcome back JR Smith to the lineup on Friday and that will help them get more production from the bench after they were held to just nine points outside of Jones. The key for Chicago will be a more complete game as they probably won’t be able to catch the Cavaliers off guard the way they did in Game 1 again in this series. Derrick Rose really struggled from the field with 14 points on 6-for-20 shooting and he and Pau Gasol were a combined minus-32 on the floor. Even worse was Jimmy Butler’s minus-26 rating and he must step up after being held to 18 points of 5-of-14 shooting. Chicago is back home but Cleveland has the momentum and it’s more likely they win this game with the Bulls answering back in Game 4 to send the series back to Ohio tied at 2-2.

Pick: Cleveland

Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Clippers

Game 4 – Best-of-7 Series tied 1-1

Friday, 10:30 PM ET

The Rockets also entered Game 2 of their second round series desperate to avoid an 0-2 start at home and James Harden responded in a big way with a team-high 32 points and seven assists. Unlike LeBron, Harden didn’t have to do all of the work himself as Dwight Howard finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds while Trevor Ariza stepped up as well with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Houston could have a tougher time on the road in Los Angeles for Game 3 but if Harden and Howard can play at the level they did in Game 2 they will still be tough to beat. A big part of this game will be whether or not Chris Paul is the lineup after sitting the first two games of the series as even though the Clippers won Game 1 without him they didn’t look nearly as potent in Game 2 even though Blake Griffin scored a game-high 34 points. Griffin has emerged as an absolute beast so far in these playoffs and assuming that Paul returns to the lineup and plays well then Los Angeles should be able to bounce back with a win. However, if Paul is out again then that game becomes a lot more difficult to predict with the odds probably swinging back in favor of the Rockets winning that game on the road.

Pick: Los Angeles

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