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Which Celtics Are The Most Likely To Thwart LeBron’s Finals March In The NBA Switch And Hedge For 5/23?

Chris Spags

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After the world complained about the quality of basketball in the early parts of these conference finals, both series are now tied at 2-2 with home court advantage back in place for Boston and Houston. Can Boston strike another salvo after blowing their two road games in Cleveland? Or will LeBron be able to get one step closer in his march to the NBA Finals with a Cavaliers cast that’s iffy at best? Let’s find out.

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Awesemo’s rankings for the single-game slate are already up with ownership projections to be released closer to lock for premium members. So without further adieu, let’s get to the slate.

Cleveland Cavaliers (102.5 implied points, -3.9 on their last 10 games) at Boston Celtics (104 implied points, -0.8 on their last 10 games)

LeBron comes into tonight’s game with almost as high of a price as he had last time out with a whopping $19,500 salary on DraftKings and a slightly more manageable $20,000 on FanDuel. Despite the sticker shock and fact that he wasn’t able to hit the 3x value threshold we target as a minimum for showdown slates, LeBron was still a key piece of any cashing lineup and the winning ones. His ceiling and floor likely continue to be too high to avoid on these slates no matter how much of a temptation there is to fade a player clocking in the neighborhood of 70% ownership. Despite his slightly down Game 4 as other Cavs shouldered more of an offensive load, LeBron still posted a 41.6% usage rate that it would be difficult for him to fail at. Kevin Love shot 3-for-12 en route to a mediocre Game 4 and he seems like a good candidate to bounce back tonight. Nothing about his minutes or usage indicate any real change from the big games he put up earlier in the series and he actually lost a good chunk of minutes due to foul trouble in the second and third quarters. Tristan Thompson will be popular after a huge Game 4 where he ripped rebounds, got some shots, and saw 38 minutes of court time. He’s priced to move and he’s one of just two players to receive Bs in both value and points from Awesemo on tonight’s slate. There could be some logic in fading him given his rising price and ownership but it’s hard to imagine the Cavs going away from him with the success they’ve had in forcing the Celtics to go big with him on the floor. It hurts me to trust George Hill given what we’ve seen of him all year but those two home games in Cleveland really looked like a different player. Hill has been an even better player on the road than home this season and the Cavs seem to really need his presence so I would be willing to keep riding with him tonight. Kyle Korver had a stellar Game 4, partially aided by Love’s foul trouble, and while he’s the same boom-or-bust play he normally is, it’s safe to wonder if he can do it again tonight. JR Smith did just enough to hit value last time out and he’s at a price where it wouldn’t be hard for him to do the same or more again tonight. Larry Nance’s price is less onerous today though his lack of minutes carry some risk and he would be a good pivot point for Thompson if he got into foul trouble since either Nance or Thompson were on the floor for Cleveland every minute of Game 4. On the cheapest side, Jeff Green seems like passable cheap value and Jordan Clarkson is a risky risky flyer to take but not trust that may be able to pay off.

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Al Horford is back in Boston for some home cooking and Horford has been a much better player in these spots so far in the playoffs; Horford has exceeded value in every home matchup he’s played so far. Given his usage rate he does carry a bit of risk but damn if I don’t like Horford tonight. Terry Rozier was the star in Game 4, shockingly more due to his offense creation for others than himself. Rozier shot 6-for-15 but dished out 11 assists and if he can shoot better while keeping the offense flowing, Rozier may be a killer play tonight. Jaylen Brown shot well in Game 4 while maintaining the usage rate he’s had all series and he looks like another good play on Boston’s side. I love Jayson Tatum’s price but I don’t see it with him this series. He’s not doing enough to get peripherals and his scoring has been mediocre at best so far. Aron Baynes saw less minutes in Game 4 despite the Cavs going big and the Celtics weren’t much better with him on a plus-minus basis. I’d worry about playing a lot of him, though I think he can do enough damage in limited minutes to be useful if he fits a roster construction. Marcus Morris has received enough minutes to be useful but his shot attempts have taken a trickle downward. I’m more interested in the Brown/Rozier/Horford group than I am him, though his B value on Awesemo’s rankings means there is some room for upside here. Marcus Smart was still an effective playmaker despite Rozier serving as more of a distributor in Game 4 and while that price is a bit uncomfortable, I don’t mind Smart tonight in front of that sure-to-be fired up home crowd. There’s no one else on this side getting minutes to be useful unless you want to roll with Mr. 5 Point Upside Semi Ojeleye, a play that has a chance of working if it fits a roster construction you love but only in that circumstance.

There we go, a key Game 5 in the books. Subscribe to the Awesemo YouTube to go live before lock with Josh Engleman and me tonight at 6PM Eastern, check back later for updates on Awesemo’s rankings and ownership projections, and I’ll see you tomorrow for more NBA action.

Chris Spags is the senior director of editorial strategy at Awesemo.com and contributes to the site's NBA, NFL, and MLB coverage as a writer and host of video content. Chris's content background from sites like Guyism, Uproxx, and Barstool Sports allows him to bring a unique spin to the world of daily fantasy sports analysis. Chris writes regular columns with NBA and NFL analysis as well as his inimitable style and his 'Four Corners' videos for basketball, baseball, and football DFS are the primary short form content offering on Awesemo's YouTube channel. You can find him on almost any given night providing analysis right up to slate lock on Awesemo's flagship Live Before Lock livestreams or on Twitter @ChrisSpags. You can contact Chris by emailing [email protected].

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