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Game 17/82: Celtics (12-4) @ Cavaliers (7-9) Open Thread

 

Boston at Cleveland

The Cavs Are Still Trying To Get Over The Loss Of Jiri Welsch

7 P.M. ET

Quicken Loans Arena

CSNNE


Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 106.8 points/100 possessions (tie-8th)

Cleveland: 99.5 points/100 possessions (28th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 98.5 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)

Cleveland: 105.2 points allowed/100 possessions (19th)

Probable Cleveland starters: Mo Williams (PG), Anthony Parker (SG), Joey Graham (SF), JJ Hickson (PF), Anderson Varejao (C)

View From The Opposing Bench: Cavs: The Blog

Thumbnail: The Celtics hit the floor tonight looking to avenge their loss to Cleveland in the second game of the season. It’s the perfect example of a trap game: a midweek matchup against a mediocre team; the kind the Celtics must win consistently if they have any hope of holding home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Weirdly enough – it’s also a trap game of sorts for the Cavs, who may be looking ahead to the Heat game on Thursday (and what I assume is their only national TV appearance of the whole season).

Blather: ESPN Boston‘s Chris Forsberg grabbed this terrific quote from Glen Davis about the Celtics alleged newfound focus against teams they should maul:

“We don’t speak no English, all we know is ‘kill,’” Davis said after Monday’s practice in Waltham. “That’s it. No more English. Switzerland. That’s all we know is ‘kill.’ Kill, kill, kill; That’s our mentality. That’s how we have to be for the rest of the season, winning these games and not taking Toronto for granted, not taking Cleveland for granted. Not taking any of these teams for granted. Every team gets up for us and we just gotta get up for every game. No days off.”

I love that Davis used Switzerland to illustrate his team’s murderous intent. If the Celtics are Switzerland, presumably the Cavs are Belgium. Are you ready for this Euro-league clash, Celtics fans? Or at least some really good chocolate?

Battle Of The Lunatic Color Commentators: Those of you watching the game on League Pass may get the Cavs broadcast team. If you’re unfamiliar with Austin Carr’s deranged work behind the mic, and bountiful catchphrases, then get ready. The man has inspired his own drinking game.

Here’s one of Carr’s signature bellows:

Of course, our own Tommy Heinsohn is no slouch either. Particularly when it comes to rage:

WHAT THE CAVALIERS DO WELL:

Compete: Nothing about the Cavs numbers will really wow you, although they do a great job cleaning up their own defensive glass. But this team was supposed to be buried in basketball purgatory with the Clippers, Raptors and T-Wolves. Like Toronto, they’re better than prognosticated. Let’s give some credit to Byron Scott and the resilience of that roster on that front.

Of course, there’s a downside to mediocrity, in that a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Eastern Conference will likely keep Cleveland from the upper end of the lottery, where franchises can reload high-end talent. The upside is that Quicken Loans Arena will see a few more W’s this year. That noted, I suspect they’re over-performing. They’ve had the 7th easiest schedule in the league so far this year.

Now, check the Cavs’ likely starting lineup. With Hickson and Varejao starting, the Cavs have no true center. But those two bigs bring energy, length and activity, all potential problem for the Celtics bigs. Varejao in particular, can cause havoc on D and on the glass (8.9 rebounds/game, top-20 in the league in rebound rate at 16.4). Many of you will disagree but I think he’d make a great Celtic.

Additionally, Scott bringing Antawn Jamison off the bench limits Kevin Garnett’s ability to humiliate and degrade him, the way he did in last year’s playoffs. Let’s see if Doc Rivers will seek out that matchup, and work KG in the post. Also, keep an eye on Mo Williams tonight – who is quietly putting up solid numbers for the Cavs this year (19.05 PER, leads team in PPG at 16.2). It’s not a walk-in-the-park tonight for Rajon Rondo.

WHAT THE CAVALIERS DO POORLY:

Many things. If the Celtics are engaged (or in touch with their inner Swiss), this should be a no-contest. The Cavs just have too many holes.

As long as the Celtics keep the Cavs off the offensive glass (which shouldn’t be a problem; like Boston, Cleveland doesn’t get a lot of second chance opportunities and they no longer have Lebron James penetrating and forcing defensive rotations) they could suffocate them on defense. Cleveland just doesn’t have enough (read: any) elite offensive talent and Boston’s defense is, as we all know, superb.

What’s more, Cleveland is a lower-tier defensive team and the Celtics have climbed into the top-10 in offensive efficiency.

PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:

Rondo. Ostensibly, this section is about a Cavs player who makes me worry. But there are no Cavs players who make me worry. So, it’s Rondo, whose continuing issues with plantar fascitis make me worry.

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:

The entire Boston roster, except Rondo. The Green should be rested and ready tonight.

The entire Cavaliers roster.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:

First-quarter focus.

A second quarter run by the bench.

A third quarter blowout lead.

Fourth quarter appearances by Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody.

PREDICTION:

Boston 113 Cleveland 95

  • I_Love_Green

    Nice mention of Austin Carr there. He was by far, the biggest Lebron nut hugger. He seriously made Cavs games unwatchable some nights.

    I agree the Cavs roster isn't very scary, but JJ Hickson had a great opening night against us, so if I had to choose he would be my choice. Although his minutes are down, as Byron Scott is increasing Jamison's minutes, so he shouldn't be as effective.

    Revenge week continues for the Celtics 103-90 Beantown gets the victory.

  • Kevin

    It's really too bad Delonte was hurt before this game. I wonder how big of around of applause he would receive for…having played in Cleveland.

  • JP-

    Great Tommy clip, it was ridiculous by the way. Also, Varejao would make a good celtic, but I hate him too much to like him at this point, same with Joakim Noah, they are both guys that are just as fun to root against as they are to root for.

  • Andy G

    Let's hope baby was right, and the C's kill kill kill these guys. Also, let's hope the game ends in time for me to flip over to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show….

  • TedL

    Nice geography catch.

    Now I'm seeing Baby in one of those lederhosen outfits, blowing the big Alpenhorn in the Ricola commercial.

    Ri-co-la!

  • Tom W

    HE WAAAAALKED! WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THESE GUYS?!!! THESE GUYS ARE RIDICULOUS!!
    That literally made my night.

  • Ryan DeGama

    Just a heads up, guys. Hayes and I are both chatting on Daily Dime Live tonight at 7:00EST.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dimelive-

    • I_Love_Green

      How often are you guys going to be doing this?

      • Ryan DeGama

        Can't speak for Hayes but we've each been there a couple times in the last few weeks. It'll be a semi-regular thing but not while I'm doing the recaps – too hard to focus on both game and making pseudo-amusing little comments….

  • phreesh

    The Celtic's grasp of geopolitical leanings troubles me. That is all.

  • I_Love_Green

    I really like Daniels.

  • J Atlas

    i think that we can officially cross jj hickson off kg's hit list…who's next?

  • TedL

    Good, dull win. What we should expect from a game like this. Now if we can keep it going against Portland tomorrow night, we'll have something.

  • Batman

    I wish Rondo would score 20+ points every night
    I wouldn't mind if his assists dipped a little
    Also I'm still going crazy over his two flaws:
    Free throw shooting- 1/4 (last checked at 9:08) 25% is freakin ridiculous
    Also the turnovers- 5 (last checked at 9:08) Waaaay too many turnovers he doesn't even have 10 yet, and a 2-1 ratio of turnovers to assists isn't good
    Just expressing my concerns

  • Batman

    Good win
    We got revenge for last time with only giving up 87 points, good solid defense
    Also 23 points from Rondo, a season-high

  • kricky

    Good solid win. Great job by the bench.

    But why did Doc wait until 1:30 to put Gody and Bradley in? It would be good to give these guys minutes to help them develop some confidence. Especially since the frontcourt and guard spot are hanging on by a thread because of injuries (litterally–I'm just waiting for Eren's shoulder to straight fall off) one of these games.

    • Ryan DeGama

      Agreed. Would have liked to see more run for both. Feels like a mistake on Doc's part.

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  • AussieCeltic

    You got exactly what you wanted:
    First-quarter focus. – eventually we got it.
    A second quarter run by the bench. – this absolutely happened and turned the whole game around.
    A third quarter blowout lead. – check
    Fourth quarter appearances by Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody. – check – albeit briefly

    Well done Ryan.

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