at Cleveland Cavaliers (5-21) at Boston Celtics (12-12)
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Regular Season Game #25, Home Game #13
TV: CSN-NE, FSO, NBA-LP 756(CLE)/757(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, WTAM
TD Garden Probable Starters Rajon Rondo.......Courtney Lee.......Paul Pierce......Brandon Bass ........Kevin Garnett
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Fab MeloProbable StartersKyrie Irving.....Dion Waiters....Alonzo Gee....Tristan Thompson.....Anderson VarejaoCleveland Bench
Omri Casspi (illness) questionable
Daniel Gibson (leg) questionable Team Connections
Daniel Gibson, Tristan Thompson and Avery Bradley all attended the University of Texas
Cavaliers Assistant Coach Paul Pressey was an assistant with Boston from 2004-06
Jason Collins played for Cavaliers Head Coach Byron Scott in New Jersey from 2001-04
Kris Joseph, Fab Melo and Dion Waiters were all teammates at Syracuse
Kris Joseph and Tristan Thompson are both from Canada
Fab Melo, Leandro Barbosa and Anderson Varejao are from Brazil
Jason Terry and Luke Walton both attended Arizona.Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Kyrie Irving
Rondo has been playing rather un-Rondolike in recent games. He has had 29 turnovers in his last 5 games, including a pair of back to back 7 turnover games. He will need to be more focused as he faces Kyrie Irving, who is playing very well and averaging 23.8 points per game.
Kevin Garnett vs Anderson Varejao
This will be a tough matchup for the Celtics. Varejao plays with a lot of energy and also plays rough. I expect to see Bass or Wilcox guarding him more than KG because of how physical he plays. The Celtics need to keep Varejao, who is averaging 14.6 rebounds per game, off the boards.
The Celtics return home to host the 5-21 Cavaliers after an 0-3 road trip. In spite of their record, the Cavs are a team that the Celtics need to take seriously now that they have Kyrie Irving back running the offense. Irving, Varejao and Waiters are all finding their strides and make the Cavs dangerous to any team taking them for granted.
Both teams come into the game on losing streaks. The Cavs have lost 4 in a row, while the Celtics are on a 3 game losing streak. Both teams played on Tuesday night and so fatigue could come into play, although with the Cavs being a younger team, fatigue could affect them less than it would the Celtics.
The Celtics won the series last season 3-0. All 3 wins were close games with the Celtics winning by 3 points, 3 points and 1 point. This is the first of 4 meetings between these two teams this season. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Cavs are just 1-9 in their last 10. The Celtics are 8-4 at home while the Cavs are 2-13 on the road.
The Celtics have been struggling and are once again back at .500. They need to get back on track especially on the defensive end where they are allowing 98 points per game. The bench, which was supposed to be a strength has been struggling to find chemistry and haven't been producing. A home game against the Cavs could be just what the Doc ordered, but if they don't come out focused, it could be another loss. 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. Whether it's a lack of focus or a lack of chemistry, the Celtics must figure it out. They must focus on taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers as in every game recently, they seem to lose focus and turn the ball over several times to give the other team a chance to put the game away. 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. Too often we see opponents hustling to get rebounds while Celtics stand around or are slow to react. They must make an effort as a team to win the rebounding battle. 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. We've seen that type of defense only in short spurts this season. They must find their defensive identity and make it a priority in every game. X-Factors
Home Court and Fatigue
The Celtics are home after 3 losses on the road. Hopefully the home crowd will give them a boost in this game. Both teams are playing in back to back games so fatigue could be a problem for both teams, but more so for the Celtics since they are the older team.