Tip: 6:00pm Court: TD Garden Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Marc Davis, Eric Lewis, Scott Wall
|Record: 9-9 (2nd Atlantic, 7th East)||Record: 7-11 (4th Central, 9th East)|
|At home: 6-5||On road: 4-7|
|Streak: Won 4||Streak: Won 1|
|Buckets: Pierce (17.7 ppg)||Buckets: Kyrie Irving (16.5 ppg)|
|Boards: Garnett (7.5 rpg)||Boards: Anderson Varejao (11.1 rpg)|
|Dimes: Rondo (9.4 apg)||Dimes: Irving (4.8 apg)|
|For the Stat Geeks:||For the Stat Geeks:|
|Offensive Rating: 100.6 (21th NBA)||Offensive Rating: 100.5 (22nd NBA)|
|Defensive Rating: 98.5 (4th NBA)||Defensive Rating: 104.3 (23rd NBA)|
|Pace: 89.2 (27th NBA)||Pace: 93.1 (7th NBA)|
The Celtics won the season series with the Cavs last year, 2-1.
Get it to: Paul Pierce
Like there's any other choice right now? Do I really need to recount how sublime he's been? Let this man do his thing.
Gotta stop: Kyrie Irving
This kid is probably going to be the rookie of the year. He's one of probably a handful of guys who don't care who the hell Avery Bradley is or where Avery picks him up on D. So instead of full court pressure where Irving could potentially get past Bradley and play 5-on-4, Bradley should fall back and pick him up just as he crosses half court. Use the half court line as a pseudo-defender and try to turn him when he's got less space to maneuver. It also lets the defense get set so they can help if need be.
The Wild Card: Anderson Varejao
If the Celtics can keep him off the boards, then they'll be in decent shape. If Varejao is being his typically annoying self, he's crashing the offensive glass, getting tip ins, flopping and drawing fouls… and just generally pissing us off. If the Celtics can keep him from being "Anderson Varejao"… this will be easy.
How we see it goin' down
Part of me fears a let down. The Celtics coming off a stretch of impressive wins over good teams to get back to .500 now face a lesser opponent.
But this Celtics team is a little different. Even if Ray Allen makes his expected return, Doc Rivers will have no qualms about limiting his minutes considering how well the rest of the team has played. Ray can be worked in slowly… and the younger, higher-energy guys can still do their thing.
And so can Paul Pierce. I think Pierce gets the C's going early, I think Kyrie Irving has a tough shooting night, and I think even if Varejao gets a few offensive rebounds, they will not be enough to keep the Cavs in contention for very long.
The Celtics defense is back in a big enough way to put the offensively challenged Cavaliers out of this by mid-second quarter. Celtics take this one at home, and get their first taste of a winning record, beating the Cavs 98-79.