at Boston Celtics (36-34) at Cleveland Cavaliers (22-47)
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Game #71, Road Game #36
TV: CSNNE, FSO, SNET1, LP 755(BOS)/756(CLE)
Radio: WTAM, WEEI
Quicken Loans Arena Probable Starters Avery Bradley......Courtney Lee.......Paul Pierce...... Jeff Green ........Brandon Bass
Chris Wilcox Injuries
Courtney Lee (ankle) game time decision
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (foot) out
Fab MeloProbable StartersShaun Livingston.....Wayne Ellington ....Alonzo Gee....Tristan Thompson.....Tyler ZellerCleveland Bench
Marreese Speights Injuries
Anderson Varejao (knee) out
Kyrie Irving (shoulder) out
Dion Waiters (knee) out Key Matchups
Avery Bradley vs Shaun Livingston
Livingston has a height advantage but Bradley has a speed advantage. It can't be much harder for Avery than having to guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 40 the last time they met.
Jeff Green vs Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson had a big game in the Cavs win over the Celtics, scoring 21 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. Green needs to limit Thompson in this one as well as getting his own offense going. Honorable Mention
Brandon Bass vs Alonzo Gee
Gee is averaging just over 10 points a game, but he went off for 20 in the first meeting between these two teams. This may be one of the few times that Bass will have a height advantage on his opponent. Game Notes
The Celtics travel to Cleveland for the third of 4 meetings with the Cavaliers. In spite of having just 22 wins, the Cavs are perfectly capable of playing spoiler and would love to hand the Celtics another loss. The Celtics won the first meeting in Boston 103-91 while the Cavs took the second meeting in Cleveland 95-90. They will meet one more time in April.
The Celtics are now 3-7 in their last 10 while the Cavs are 2-8. The Celtics have been terrible on the road this season with a 12-23 record away from the Garden. The Cavs aren't much better at home, however, with just a 13-21 record at home. The Celtics are fighting for playoff seeding while the Cavs are vying for lottery seeding.
The Celtics are still in the 7th spot but just 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks, who are in 8th. There's no way that either slips out of the playoffs, but if the Celtics can't right the ship, they may drop back into the 8th spot. The loss to the Knicks put them back into the 2nd spot and if both can hang onto those spots would face each other in the first round. The Celtics are now 2.5 games behind both Chicago (5th) and Atlanta (6th).
The Celtics have now dropped their last 5 games and very much need a win in this one, not just for standings, but also for team morale building toward the playoffs. The Cavs have also lost 5 in a row, so one of the teams will have their losing streak snapped. Hopefully it will be the Celtics. Keys to the Game Mental Toughness
- Call it mental toughness or focus, the Celtics need to have it to win on the road. 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. 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. With KG out, it becomes even more important for every player to commit to tough defense. 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
- They need to be more aggressive going to the hoop, especially if the shots 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. Take Care of the Ball
- The Celtics once again were too sloppy with the ball against the Knicks. That has been a problem for them during this losing streak. They turned the ball over 20 times vs the Knicks for 17 points in a 15 point loss. Pierce and Crawford each had 6 turnovers. Pierce has been turning the ball over quite a lot lately and it might be time for Doc to take the ballhandling duties from him. They simply must focus more on taking care of the ball as it's tough to win when you give the other team 20 extra possessions. X-Factors
On the Road
The Celtics have been terrible on the road this season, losing to teams they should easily beat. They have won just 12 games on the road this season and much of that is focus and effort and that old mental toughness thing. The Celtics have got to figure out winning on the road since they aren't likely to have home court in any of their playoff series and this would be a good time to do it.