Fans emulate Boston Celtics forward Al Horford flexing his right arm during the second half in Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Cavs Looking to Get First Win in Eastern Conference Finals

The Boston Celtics will be looking to steal a game in Cleveland when the Cavaliers host game three of the series on Saturday night. Cleveland is in a 2-0 hole, and need a victory at home to get back in the series.

Keys to Victory for Boston

  • Continue strong defensive play: In each of the series first two games, Boston held Cleveland to under 100 points. Boston’s guards suffocated the starting backcourt for Cleveland in game two. They would hold George Hill and J.R. Smith to a combined three points.
  • Scoring distribution: The Celtics have gotten offensive production from all of their starters in the series. The entire starting five reached double-digit scoring totals in game two. Keeping the pressure on defense will be a major factor for Boston to continue their dominance in the series.
  • Keep the chip on the shoulder: Boston has played with grit and toughness in the first two games. Going into Cleveland, that cannot change as the team’s physical play has helped the carried the team to consecutive victories.

Keys to Victory for Cleveland

  • Help LeBron: James’ stat line in game two was 42-10-12. Apart from Kevin Love‘s 22 point performance in the second game, the rest of the nine players that stepped on the court for Cleveland combined to shoot 12-33 from the field for 30 points. That production needs to change for Cleveland to get themselves back in the series.
  • Improve defensive effort: Boston’s ball movement and scoring distribution has been a hassle for the Cleveland defense so far in this series. The Cavs need to clamp-down defensively and force the young-Celtics into turnovers to create fast-break opportunities and get the crowd in the game early.

No team in history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. Ultimately, Cleveland needs a victory tonight to get back in the series, and return to the finals for the fourth straight year.

Game Info

With the Cavaliers’ hopes of going to a fourth straight NBA Finals at risk, this is a make-or-break game for Cleveland. The Cavs will be on their home court for Game 3 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The game will be live on ESPN this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Finally, stay with ESPN 98.1 FM – 850 AM WRUF for continuing coverage of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

About Michael Knauff

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