Boston: 98.9 points/100 possessions (18th)
Cleveland: 97.6 points/100 possessions (22nd)
Boston: 95.4 points allowed/100 possessions (3rd)
Cleveland: 101.5 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)
Probable Cleveland Starters: Kyrie Irving (PG), Anthony Parker (SG), Omri Casspi (SF), Antawn Cortez Jamison (PF), Anderson França Varejao (C)
View from the Opposing Bench: Cavs the Blog
Boston: Rajon Rondo is out. Jermaine O’Neal will play.
Cleveland: Anthony Parker and Boobie Gibson are both out.
Tonight the Celtics trudge into an arena named after an online mortgage lender to steal their dignity back after giving it away for free on Sunday night. In the one giant game that spans that game and tonight’s, the Celtics are currently on the wrong end of a 12-0 run and are struggling both to stop Kyrie Irving and score against Brazilian Justin Guarini. But even though Rondo’s still out tonight, Boston remains a better team that Cleveland is, and capable of finding solutions after a two-day halftime.
The loss earlier this week came down to offensive rebounding, turnovers, and Alonzo Gee shooting nine free throws.
Offensive rebounding: The Cavs had 11 to the Celtics’ 5, including a couple by Anderson Varejao in the final minutes that kept Cleveland alive. Jermaine O’Neal will triumphantly limp onto the court tonight, and he should contribute a lot more on the boards than Brandon Bass did as a starting big. O’Neal was forcing people to question his reputation as a bad rebounder in the games before he got hurt; he actually has the highest rebound rate of any non-blonde Celtic.
Turnovers: Pierce turned the ball over seven times, six of them on bad passes after being forced to act as distributor after the Avery Bradley Point Guard Experiment ended in an unfortunate lab explosion. Pierce needs to realize that he’s not in the game to replace Rondo, or find the same impossible looks that Rondo does (though Pierce has done that successfully on several occasions this past week). He either needs to create offense for himself or hit teammates who find space out of Doc’s playbook.
Alonzo Gee shooting nine free throws: This had never happened before, so there is no research on how to prevent it.
Celtics 90, Cavs 85