at Boston Celtics (0-0) at Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0)
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #1, Road Game #1
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 1100 WTZM, 87.7 WMMS
Quicken Loans ArenaProbable Starters
PG: Kyrie Irving ........................................ SG: Jaylen Brown
C: Al Horford
SF: Gordon Hayward ............................................ PF: Jayson Tatum Celtics Reserves
Aron Baynes (knee) day to day
Marcus Morris (knee) out Head Coach
Brad Stevens Probable Starters
PG: Derrick Rose ................ SG: Dwyane Wade
C: Kevin Love
SF: LeBron James................. PF: Jae CrowderCavs Reserves
Ante Zizic Injuries
LeBron James (ankle) questionable
Isaiah Thomas (hip) out
Tyronn Lue Game Notes
The season finally has arrived and the Celtics and Cavaliers meet amidst a great deal of drama. Since they last met in the Eastern Conference Finals, both teams have undergone a great deal of change. The Celtics return just 4 players from last year's team while the Cavs have 7 players returning.
The biggest drama comes from the blockbuster trade that sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Ante Zizic to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. Since the trade, there has been a constant flow of jabs from Isaiah and the Cavs toward Boston and from Kyrie toward Cleveland which has both teams more than ready to go at each other.
The Cavs went 1-4 in the preseason. LeBron James injured his ankle before their first game and missed the first 3 games, which the Cavs lost. He returned for the 4th game, which they also lost, but he aggravated the injury and sat out the final game, which the Cavs won. His availability for this game is questionable. The Celtics, on the other hand, went 4-0 in the preseason and seemed to be building chemistry quickly.
Tyronn Lue said that he believed that LeBron would want to play because of all that was on the line but he also said that they won't take any chances with their star. If LeBron can't play, Iman Shumpert will likely take his place. They had started JR Smith in two of the preseason games but Smith asked to come off the bench and so Shumpert started the final preseason game, which the Cavaliers won.
Aron Baynes injured his knee in the second game against Philadelphia and missed the final preseason game. He is feeling confident that he will be able to play in this game. Even though this is just the first game of the season and neither team has had time to build chemistry with all of their new players, there is a lot of pride on the line for both teams. It will be a very hard played game and more than likely there will be hard fouls and tempers flaring. Key Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Derrick Rose
We can expect Kyrie to try his best to beat his former team and hopefully he doesn't try so hard that his game is off. Derrick Rose is trying to get a big contract at the end of this season and a good way to get started would be to have a big game to help beat the Celtics. The Knicks were outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions last season when Rose was on the court. He has lost a step since his MVP season but is working hard to regain his quickness and athleticism. This will be a very important matchup and will go a long way toward determining the winner of this game.
Gordon Hayward vs LeBron James
At this point, I am assuming that LeBron will play in this game, but it's possible that by game time, this matchup could be Hayward vs Shumpert. Hayward is an underrated defender and this will be a big test of his defensive abilities. It is also possible that Marcus Morris or Jaylen Brown will cover LeBron for part of the game since both have had success in the past. Honorable Mention
Jayson Tatum vs Jae Crowder
Jae is going to be very motivated to get revenge against the team that he feels treated him unfairly. Like Isaiah, he felt that the Celtics did not handle the trade very well. Jae is very competitive normally and will be even more so in this game, wanting to beat his former team. Jayson has started most of the preseason games and will likely start this game as well. Hopefully he will be up to the task. Keys to the GameDefense Defense Defense!!
Defense is key to winning every game. Defense is tough for a team who hasn't played together to master but the Celtics seemed to do a good job in the preseason. But, now the games are for real and hopefully so is their defense.
- The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. This was the Celtics' biggest weakness last season but the team has more length and more athleticism this season and hopefully they will do a better job on the boards. Much of rebounding is effort and so the Celtics have to work hard to beat the Cavs to rebounds. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to beat the Cavs to every loose ball and win the 50/50 plays. They have to be aggressive on the boards and in driving into the paint and to the basket. They have to be the team that works harder and the team that wants it more. Focus
- The Celtics have to remain focused and block out the distractions of playing on the road. They have to focus on taking good shots and they have to make them. The Cavs fans will be very loud and will be hostile after Kyrie's comments about Boston being a "real sports city." The Celtics have to use the boos as motivation and not allow them to shake their focus. X-Factors Chemistry
- Both teams have quite a few new players and both teams are looking to build chemistry quickly. The team that succeeds in gelling quicker will have a distinct advantage in this game. Nerves
- This is a big game and both teams have been looking forward to it for some time. The Celtics have a lot of young players on their team and they will be seeing their first real NBA action. It isn't a stretch to believe that they will have some jitters and how well they handle them and stay focused will go a long way toward getting a win.