Sunday evening brings Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs’ Eastern Conference Finals feature the Celtics vs. Cavs. Cleveland has dominated through two games so far in the series and will look to extend to a 3-0 lead at home. Boston will have their pride still on the line as they look to gain their first win. Unfortunately for the Celtics, they’ll need to find a way to do so without the leadership of floor general Isaiah Thomas, as it was recently reported he’ll be out for the remainder of the postseason.
As CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger suggested earlier on Sunday, the fact that Isaiah Thomas won’t be on the court today may benefit the Celtics in one aspect of their game: defense. With Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier expected to get more minutes due to Thomas’ absence, these two players could provide tougher matchups for the opposing Cavs players they guard. With that said, the Celtics will really need to lock down on defense to avoid another embarrassing blowout like the one they suffered the previous game in Boston. Not only that, in order to have any chance of actually winning tonight, the Celtics need to find someone to carry the scoring load.
Avery Bradley has shown he has that ability, as he notched a career playoff high of 29 points earlier this postseason against the Washington Wizards. Al Horford and Jae Crowder have shown their abilities to score, rebound, and assist, while Kelly Olynyk was a surprise hero in at least one or two games of these NBA Playoffs. Olynyk scored 26 points to help propel the Celtics to a huge Game 7 win versus the Wizards, but can he step up in a major way on the road? Anything may be possible.
Still with all of that said, most fans realize that this series is all but over with Thomas out of the lineup. The NBA All-Star was pretty much the main reason the Celtics were being given the slimmest of chances to grab at least one win in these Eastern Conference Finals. Without Thomas’ presence, “The King” LeBron James, will likely reign supreme with Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and the rest of the defending NBA Champions, en route to another NBA Finals trip.
As Vegas Insider shows, the point spread for tonight’s NBA game opened at 5-1/2 points but moved all the way to 17 points in favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers based on the news of Thomas being out for the rest of the playoffs. The Cavs were priced as high as -8,000 on the moneyline with the visitors listed as +1800 underdogs. The over/under points total was anywhere from 214-1/2 to 216-1/2 points for the complete game. Keep in mind that Game 2 was a 130-86 blowout win in Boston for the visiting Cavs.
The Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 has a scheduled start time of 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time or 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. Fans will be able to watch the latest installment of this series as it plays out live on television via their ESPN channel. Celtics vs. Cavs live streaming will be available through the WatchESPN platform which consists of the official website or any compatible apps for a range of devices.
The SlingTV channel streaming service providers anyone with a hi-speed internet connection a free way to see the game live online. As of right now, Sling.com offers any new customers a free one-week trial to check out the service. By signing up for the offer, viewers can select the lowest channel package, Sling Orange, which includes ESPN and ESPN2 as part of its lineup. This will allow viewers to see this game, along with other content on ESPN as well as the other channels included in the package for a full week.
[Featured Image by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images]