Coming off a 22-point drubbing by the Lakers, the Las Vegas casinos are in agreement with the Lakers as a seven-point favorite.
I am not encouraging gambling, but here are seven reasons the Celtics will cover tonight. And by the way, the over/under is set at 186.5, which is a very reasonable under to take.
1. It's Game Seven
An experienced team like the Celtics will come to play. They are embarrassed by Game Six, and will do whatever they can to clamp down and play defense.
The Lakers crowd will be loud, and the veteran Celtics know they must keep the game close early.
2. Rajon Rondo
In Game Six, the triple-double point guard had a dismal showing with 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting with six assists and five rebounds.
If Ray Allen can show up, look for Rondo to have a great game against Derek "Big Game" Fisher and the Lakers. If Rondo can reverse his free throw shooting slump, it could even give the Celtics a chance to win the game.
3. Paul Pierce
The veteran forward is coming off a 13 point performance that included five turnovers, and an awful +/- of 26.
Experienced players like Pierce learn from previous games, and he will make sure to provide efficiency, even if it doesn't mean scoring points.
4. Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace and Sheldon Williams
With the absence of Kendrick Perkins, Wallace will get the start for the Celtics in Game Seven. All three players will have to come together and provide some stiff defense and rebounding against Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.
Doc Rivers will be looking towards the trio for tough, steady play even if it means fouls. This group will not score but provide toughness during Game Seven.
5. Free Throws
Free throws during the second half is key for the Celtics to remain close. In gambling, free throws are pivotal to keeping your team in the race to cover. Look for Boston to foul Bynum, and Ron Artest at the end of the game.
Doc Rivers will tell Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett to go at the Lakers and get to the free throw line.
In Game Six, the Celtics made it to the line only 10 times, while the Lakers went 17-of-19 at the stripe.
6. The season is over for both teams after tonight
The lack of enthusiasm and energy of the Celtics in game six was a sign they weren't excited, and it looked as if they were saving themselves.
Regardless of who wins, both teams will have a chance to rest for the next few months.
The veteran Celtics will leave it all on the floor, giving them a great chance to keep the game within seven. They won in Los Angeles earlier in the series and aren't lacking in confidence.
An entire country of sports junkies will be tuned in tonight. The epic battle between the leagues two premier franchises on the biggest stage.
This is when legacies and moments are made, and the majority of these superstars have always embraced the history of the game. Does either team really want to let down a country with a dismal performance?
The Lakers will win tonight, but the Celtics will cover the seven-point spread.
Spreads for the game are courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton at 1:55 Eastern time.
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