Boston at Cleveland
7:00 P.M. ET
Quicken Loans Arena
Boston: 100.2 points/100 possessions (20th)
Cleveland: 98.9 points/100 possessions (27th)
Boston: 100.5 points allowed/100 possessions (8th)
Cleveland: 106.8 points allowed/100 possessions (28th)
Probable Cavaliers Starters:
Kyrie Irving (PG), Alonzo Gee (SG), C.J. Miles (SF), Tristan Thompson (PF), and Tyler Zeller (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Cavs: The Blog
Thumbnail: Well, that was quick. Since the Celtics won six consecutive games for the first time in two years, they all of a sudden have dropped three straight, including two to teams that each have a winning percentage below .400. Boston’s losing streak is the longest current one for any Eastern Conference team. Fortunately for the Celtics, they play in Cleveland on Tuesday. The Cavaliers have the second-worst winning percentage in the league.
In addition, the Cavaliers are without Anderson Varejao (blood clot) for the rest of the 2012-13 season. He is one of the NBA’s best rebounders on both the offensive and defensive ends. Without Varejao, the Cavaliers are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. This should benefit the Celtics, who have been outrebounded in each of last three losses. They are 10-3 this season when either outrebounding their opponent or having the same number of rebounds. However, the Celtics are 10-17 when having fewer rebounds.
Boston has been struggling recently for many reasons, so a win on Tuesday will not cure all the ills. While this Celtics team can win games as currently constructed, they may need a trade before the deadline to make a long 2013 postseason run. For Boston to be victorious, Paul Pierce needs to carry a part of the scoring load. As he as aged, he has predictably become more inconsistent. However, he can still put up great shooting nights.
During the Celtics’ recent six-game winning streak, Pierce shot 46% from the field, 37% from three-point and scored 19 points per game. On the contrary, during the team’s current three-game losing streak, he has only averaged 12 points per game with some terrible shooting percentages. He only needs four points to pass Ray Allen for 21st on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, but Pierce will have to put up more than just a few buckets for the Celtics to be successful even against one of the league’s worst teams.
Prediction: Pierce finds his stroke and the Celtics stop their three-game losing streak by winning their fourth consecutive meeting with the Cavaliers.
Celtics 96, Cavaliers 87