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Apr 12 NBA Action: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics -10.0 vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Our Real Plus/Minus-based power ratings make the Cavaliers to be 7 points better than the Celtics at TD Garden this afternoon. However, Cleveland will be severely hindered by absences for this matchup: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith are all scheduled to be rested today, while Iman Schumpert is listed as questionable (per SportsInsights).

In the days leading up to this game, James has been talking up the possibility that he might sit out of some of the final regular season contests in an effort to ready himself for Cleveland's post-season bid. As such, we suspect that our numbers (at the very least) reflect an expectation for a reduction of the superstar's minutes today.

On the other hand, Kyrie Irving's unavailability is likely a shock to our apporach. Further, we guess that Kevin Love's absence is also not fully reflected in the power ratings figures for this week, as Love’s ailing back allowed him to return to the Cavalier's lineup a week ago, and we observed no signs of a hiccup at the last recalibration point for our power ratings.

If Irving's average of 37 minutes of playing time is distributed evenly among Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Schumpert (if Schumpert can go, that is), and if total possessions for this game approximate Boston's average number of possessions at home plus Cleveland's average on the road, then, Irving's omission from today's roster might be expected to swing the scoring margin by about 5 points (in Boston's direction).

Similarly, if minutes normally consumed by Kevin Love instead go to Tristan Thompson and Shawn Marion, we estimate an additional 6 points of detriment to Cleveland's margin.

Lebron's +7.70 whole-season RPM, obviously, creates the biggest void for the Cavs. Leaving James Jones (-3.40 RPM), Joe Harris (-4.41 RPM) and Mike Miller (-4.79 RPM) to fill James' custom Nikes changes the expected scoring margin by an astounding 18 points (in favor of the Celtics). Even if our power ratings anticipated that James' MPG would be halved this week (on the basis of the rhetoric circulating on this topic in the days leading up to the last reset of the weekly RPM data), the reduction from his expected 18 minutes per contest (James average of 36 MPG ÷ 2) to 0 today likely saps 9ish points of advantage from Cleveland's spread.

These teams met just two days ago at the Cav's Quicken Loan Arena. Irving missed that game do to a sore hip, but the rest of the Cleveland roster was intact. Boston won three of the four quarters and held a nine point advantage when the final whistle sounded. In today’s meeting, the Celtics will have home court advantage and will face a more depleted Cleveland unit. As such, we are comfortable backing the home favorite here.

Happy betting!!

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