at Cleveland Cavaliers (7-11) at Boston Celtics (9-9)
Sunday, January 29
Regular Season Game #19, Home Game #12
TV: CSN-NE, FSO, NBA-LP 751/752
Radio: WEEI, WTAM
TD Garden Probable Starters Avery Bradley.......Ray Allen.......Paul Pierce.......Kevin Garnett...... Jermaine O'NealBoston Bench
Ray Allen (ankle) probable
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) day to day
Keyon Dooling (hip) day to day
Rajon Rondo (wrist) day to day Probable StartersKyrie Irving.....Anthony Parker.....Omri Casspi....Antawn Jamison.....Anderson VarejaoCleveland Bench
None reported Team Connections
Tristan Thompson, Daniel Gibson and Avery Bradley attended the University Texas
Sasha Pavlovic played for the Cavaliers for five seasons, 2004-2009
Semih Erden and Luke Harangody were both drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2008 and 2010 NBA Draft respectively and each spent part of the 2010-2011 season with the Celtics before being traded to the Cavaliers.Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Omri Casspi
Paul Pierce has lifted his game to another level during the Celtics' 4 game win streak. He should be able to have another big game in this one in spite of playing big minutes the past 2 games. It's good to have him back to being the Truth!
Jermaine O'Neal vs Anderson Varejao
This will be a tough matchup for the Celtics. Varejao plays with a lot of energy and also plays rough. JO will have his hands full trying to hold Varejao down. Honorable Mention
Avery Bradley vs Kyrie Irving
Bradley will need to use his defensive skills on Irving, who is an early candidate for Rookie of the Year.
This is the first meeting between these two teams and is the first game in the Celtics third home and home series this season. They fared very well in their first two home and home series, sweeping both the Wizards and the Magic in the previous two.
Last season the Celtics won the series 2-1 with the loss coming in the second game of the season, the night after their big win over the Heat. The Cavs have struggled since LeBron went to South Beach and took his talents with him. Their wins have come against other struggling teams, including Detroit, New Jersey, Charlotte, and Minnesota. But, if the Celtics don't stay focused and play them tough, they do have enough talent to pull out a win.
The Celtics should get Ray Allen and Jermaine O'Neal back for this game as both have said they are targeting this game for their return. It will be interesting to see how the change in the lineup will change the chemistry and play of the team that has won 4 in a row. It will definitely make the bench better with the reinsertion of Pietrus and Bass.
This could be a trap game if the Celtics come into it thinking they can with it without putting out the effort. They need to play the Cavs as hard as they would the Magic or the Lakers, or the Pacers. If they do, then their win streak should reach 5. Keys to the Game Focus
- The Celtics have shown that when they come out focused and keep their intensity, especially on defense, throughout the game, they win. They need to stay focused now that they have proved that they can beat the better teams and not play down to the Cavs level. They must also focus on taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers. Rebound
- Rebounding is mostly desire and effort. When the Celtics put out the effort to out-rebound their opponents, they usually get the win. When they put the effort in to crash the boards, that effort also tends to show in other areas of the game as well. They out-rebounded the Magic and the Pacers, both good rebounding teams, because they made the effort to hustle for every rebound. They need to continue to do that. Defense
- Defense is the key to every game. The Celtics won banner 17 with defense and if they want to win banner 18 they must once again do it with defense. They have played that kind of defense in their last 3 games vs the Magic and the Pacers. They have to continue to make defense a priority and not allow any easy baskets.
Focus and Energy
If the focus and energy are there, the Celtics will win. If they lose focus and feel they can play less than their best because of the Cavs record, then they may be surprised.