Cleveland at Boston
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 100.8 points/100 possessions (22nd)
Cleveland: 101.0 points/100 possessions (21st)
Boston: 100.1 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)
Cleveland: 107.3 points allowed/100 possessions (27th)
Probable Cavaliers Starters:
Kyrie Irving (PG), Wayne Ellington (SG), Alonzo Gee (SF), Tristan Thompson (PF), and Tyler Zeller (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Cavs: The Blog
Thumbnail: As usual with the Celtics near the end of the regular season, the injury report precedes the preview of the game. Kevin Garnett will miss his eighth consecutive game, and the Celtics have been predictably hurt on defense by his absence; the Celtics, who hope to get the Big Ticket back on Sunday, are 7.7 points worse per 100 defensive possessions without him in 2012-13. Luckily for those heading to TD Garden for the Friday night contest, Paul Pierce is expected to suit up and play even after experiencing pain in his ankle on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, he is the most important offensive player for the Celtics, increasing the team’s offensive efficiency by 5.5 points per 100 possessions this season. The Cavaliers have also had injuries of their own this season. While they have not had as much misfortune as the Celtics, Cleveland will be without two of its three highest scorers in this game. Kyrie Irving should be playing, but Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao remain out.
This Cavaliers team has had a relatively tough schedule recently, but they have dropped their last 10 games. This losing streak is the longest current one in the league and is Cleveland’s longest one since losing an NBA-record 26 consecutive contests in 2010-11. The last time the Celtics faced the Cavaliers was just over a week ago when Boston finished the game on a 21-6 run to win by one point in Cleveland. Jeff Green won the game on a buzzer-beating lay-up as he scored 21 points with seven rebounds and five assists. Brandon Bass chipped in with 22 points, and Pierce had a near triple-double.
The Celtics will hope to win again to take the regular season series from the Cavaliers for the third straight year. In order to do so, Green will once again have to step up. As a starter this season for Boston, he has performed fantastically. In those 11 games, he is averaging 22.5 points per game while shooting 56 percent from the field and 54 percent from 3-point. Although it is a small sample size, that overall field goal percentage would be seventh-best in the NBA this season and the best among non-big men. In addition, the best 3-point shooter this season, Jose Calderon, is at 46 percent. No one can proclaim that Green is the league’s best shooter, but he is showing signs as a very strong player in his time in the starting lineup.
Prediction: Green keeps it going as the Celtics push the Cavaliers’ road record to 9-29 and their overall losing streak to 11 games.
Celtics 110, Cavaliers 99
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