NBA Playoff Roundup: LeBron gets hot at the right time for Cavs

The NBA’s Conference Finals are scheduled to start in less than a week’s time, yet all four semi-final series could still go the required seven-game distance.

With the score set at 3-2 in all of those matchups, the next few days of action could be as spine-tingling and dramatic as anything that has gone previously during this postseason, which is some effort.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, playing with All-Star pair Kevin Love out injured and Kyrie Irving hobbling through pain, have rediscovered what it’s like having the best player on the planet on their side.

LeBron James had not been himself in the series with the Chicago Bulls, until a buzzer-beater for the win in Game 4 brought him to life.

James single-handedly gave the Cavaliers the series advantage in Game 5, finishing with 38 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals, three blocks and zero turnovers in a 106-101 win.

The Cavaliers are now 3/20 with Ladbrokes to book their Eastern Conference Final spot over the course of the next two matches.

Elsewhere in the West, the number-one-seed Atlanta Hawks moved ahead of the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of their series, thanks to a frantic game-winner from Al Horford:

Horford was phenomenal for the Hawks, who were far from their best at the Phillips Arena, scoring 23 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking five shots.

The LA Clippers are fancied in their Western Conference battle with the Houston Rockets, at 1/10. However, the Staples Centre outfit have already blown the first of their three chances to knock out their Texas rivals, losing Game 5 124-103.

Heading back home for their next instalment, the Clippers, who had been fantastic in shutting down the offensive potency the Rockets are known for prior to that defeat, are 1/4 to win Game 6.

In the other matchup out West, the Golden State Warriors took full advantage of defensive spark-plug Tony Allen’s injury for the Memphis Grizzlies to torch the Tennessee club 98-78.

The league’s best regular-season side have now won the last two outings by landslide margins and look well-placed to prevail over a 5.0-point handicap at odds of 10/11 in Game 6.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.