at Boston Celtics (20-20) at Cleveland Cavaliers (10-32)
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Game #41, Road Game #20
TV: CSNNE, FSO, SNET1, LP 751(BOS)/752(CLE)
Radio: WTAM, WEEI
Quicken Loans Arena Probable Starters Rajon Rondo......Avery Bradley.......Paul Pierce......Brandon Bass ........Kevin Garnett
Courtney Lee Injuries
Avery Bradley (ribs) probable
Chris Wilcox (thumb) day to day
Fab MeloProbable StartersKyrie Irving.....CJ Miles ....Alonzo Gee....Tristan Thompson.....Tyler ZellerCleveland Bench
Daniel Gibson Injuries
Anderson Varejao (leg) out 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
Fab Melo and Dion Waiters were teammates at Syracuse
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
The key matchup will be at the point guard spot, as is usually the case. Rondo is coming off a game in which he turned the ball over 9 times. He has to focus and take better care of the ball. While I expect Avery Bradley to be covering Irving most of the time, if his ribs are better, the ability of each point guard to direct the offense and set the pace will be key in this game.
Kevin Garnett vs Tyler Zeller
Varejao is out for the rest of the season but Zeller is capable of giving the Celtics problems as well. In the first meeting between these two teams, Zeller made his first career start and torched the Celtics for 20 points. KG has to find his shot again and be more consistent on both ends of the court. Honorable Mention
Brandon Bass vs Tristan Thompson
Brandon Bass has been very inconsistent on both offense and defense. He also hasn't been rebounding like the Celtics need him to. Thompson is averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds and the Celtics need more out of Bass at the power forward spot. If they don't get it, I expect Sully to get more time at this position. Game Notes
The Celtics travel to Cleveland for the second of 4 meetings with the Cavaliers. In spite of having just 10 wins, the Cavs are perfectly capable of playing spoiler and would love to hand the Celtics a loss. The Celtics won the first meeting in Boston 103-91 and I'm sure the Cavs would love to avenge that as well.
The Celtics are facing a fork in the road. Doc has called them out for their effort and for their lack of chemistry. This will be a chance for the Celtics to show that they want to stay together as a team and for the players to show that they want to remain Celtics. This is as close to a must win as you can get in the middle of the season.
The Celtics have lost 3 in a row after their 6 game win streak. The Cavs are trying to avoid a 2 game losing streak. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Cavs are just 3-7 in their last 10. The Celtics have struggled on the road with a 7-12 record away from the Garden. The Cavs are just 4-12 on their home court.
The Celtics have fallen back to .500. They are still in the 8th spot in the East by virtue of the Sixers losing even more then them. They are 1.5 games behind Milwaukee for the 7th spot and 3 games in front of Philly. The Celtics are 5.5 games behind New York for the Atlantic division lead. Doc made it clear. If players want to remain a Celtic they need to play team ball and win games, starting with this game. Keys to the Game Mental Toughness
- Call it mental toughness or focus, the Celtics need to have it. The Celtics must keep their heads in the game. They have to come out strong and play until the final buzzer. They have to concentrate on making crisp passes instead of sloppy ones that turn the ball over. They need to be aggressive on both ends of the court and keep their focus, whether on defense, free throws, shot selection, effort, or just playing team ball. Doc called the team out for wanting to win easy. Hopefully the message got across. Rebound
- Rebounding is key to getting a win. When the Celtics put the effort in to crashing the boards and battling for rebounds, that effort also tends to show in other areas of the game as well. Even though they are at the bottom of the league in rebounding, they have shown that when they make the the effort to hustle for every rebound, things usually go well. Defense
- Defense is the key to every game. There have been times when the Celtics can lock down a team and keep them from getting any easy scores. There are also times when they allow tip ins and layups and second chance points over and over again. It goes back to that mental toughness thing. The Celtics can't lose their defensive mindset. They must lock in on defense from beginning to end. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have become a jump shooting team whose jump shots aren't falling. They need to be more aggressive going to the hoop, especially if the shots still aren't falling. They also have to be aggressive on defense, fighting for loose balls, rebounding, and bringing the ball up the floor. The team that is more aggressive usually wants the game more and will usually be the team that comes out on top. X-Factors
Effort and Teamwork
After Doc called the team out and hinted that if they didn't get their act together as a team, there would be changes, we can only hope that they took it to heart and will come out with more effort in this game. They have to play as a team and find some measure of consistency from every player on the team. If they want to stay together as a team, they need to show it.