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The Opener: Cavs-Celtics Preview


Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers
Quicken Loans Arena
7:30 P.M


We are debuting a bit of a new preview format for this year at Celtics Hub, exchanging a paragraph form to a more succinct, precise and hopefully accurate analysis of the C’s upcoming matchup, with more of a bullet-type feel to it. Hope you enjoy it, and suggestions are more than welcome regarding the new layout. Now to the tale of the tape:

What The Cavs do well (or did well last season): The team’s NBA best record (66-16) for last season would seem to indicate a lot of things. First and foremost is defending home court (39-2). Defense has to be considered their strength, allowing opponents to only 91.3 a tilt last year. Oh and that Lebron James guy is pretty good too I hear. 

What The Cavs do poorly (or did poorly last season): Not a whole lot, but their flaws were exposed against the Magic during last year’s conference finals in guarding mobile big men. Inconsistent outside shooting and a lack of reliable scoring from players not named Lebron also hurt his squad, but a bunch of new faces were brought in to address that problem leads us to…  

New Player to Watch: Shaquille O’Neal. He’s 37, bigger than ever and actually looked solid against the C’s, on the offensive end anyway in last week’s preseason matchup. Time will tell how well he will fit in Cleveland. Honorable mention to Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon, the two new wings brought in to shoot some 3’s and play better defense. Also a tear in the eye of most Celtics fans in seeing Leon Powe sitting on the enemies’ bench.

Player who is gone: No notable contributors just the old guard of Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, and Wally World. Addition by subtraction in most all of these cases.

Guy who concerns us: Lebron James. I could probably go on for awhile here, but will let Lebron’s 29-6-6 career averages against the C’s do the talking. Yikes. Honorable mention to Anderson Varejo who also seems to get a lot of sneaky backdoor hoops against the Celtics. He also tends to piss off Ray Allen and the rest of the Celtic fan base.

Guy who doesn’t: Mo Williams. Rondo’s defense should keep him honest. I like Perk’s chances of containing Shaq in the post as well, all though he could use those 30 pounds back that he lost this offseason for tonight.    

What we want to see from the C’s tonight:
A reasonable number of turnovers, establishing an offensive rhythm early, and keeping Lebron’s supporting cast in check. Final thoughts and a prediction, after the jump.

The Celtics have not won in Cleveland since 2004 (0-10 in last 10 visits including playoffs) so Quicken Loans Arena has been a house of horrors for them lately. This is primarily because the C’s have had miserable shooting nights combined with the fact they haven’t been able to stop anyone on the Cavs, much less Lebron during most nights in Cleveland. If the C’s can corral Cleveland’s sharpshooters early, putting more of the onus on Lebron, they will have a chance, tonight. It still won’t be easy.   

Predicted Final Score: Cavs 89, Celtics 85. Kind of hoping to jinx the streak here, but with Cleveland’s success at home and all the distractions surrounding the C’s in the past 24 hours with Baby and Rondo’s extensions talks, I don’t see them breaking through tonight.

  • rondo-is-love

    LOL @ the comment about Andersen Varejao pissing off Ray Allen and the Celtics fan base. That's so true though.. I just can't stand him. He's one of those people that you don't really like much even when they're on your team but you support him anyway just because he's on your side.

  • Jason

    In very limited pre-season play, I still saw ten times the offensive moves from Varejao than he's ever shown before. I hope the C's don't take him lightly.

    The thing that bothers me most about Varejeo (and there's a never ending list) is that talent-wise the guy's practically a nothing and yet, just by being a hustling pest (and for some reason refs reward him for this by not calling him for any of the hacking or over-the-backs he does), he's productive. Credit to him for being a top-effort guy and for making the most of his truly limited talent, but what pisses me off is when a guy like KG or Wallace, who have the superior talent, doesn't shut him down.

    If you have those abilities, the only thing he can beat you with is hustle and if he does it means you failed to do simple, fundamental things like keep track of your man, box out, match his speed/intensity.

    If he beats KG/Wallace to a free ball in the corner, I'll be fuming. If he out-challenges them for a board, I'll be screaming at the TV. He doesn't jump high. He doesn't run fast. He's not overpowering. He's not that great a defender. He's barely an afterthought in the offense. He should be rendered impotent. With adequate effort by Wallace/KG, Varejao should be reasonably shut-down and if it doesn't happen, … well it'll be like a lot of other games, won't it?

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