Having been off since Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers will go into tonight’s game with their longest time off since the All-Star break. And considering the Cavaliers will continue to be without Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving, they are going to need to be well rested against the Boston Celtics. Even without Rajon Rondo, the Celtics are still a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. And so, they are the clear favorite in tonight’s game against the Cavaliers.
Opponent’s Blog: Hardwood Houdini
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
Betting Line: Celtics by 2.5
Where you can watch: Fox Sports Ohio
Where you can listen: WTAM (1100), WFUN (970 AM)
For the Cavaliers to win this game look for them to run the offensive through the post and try to get someone going. It doesn’t particularly matter who it is – someone is just going to have to get going. This could be key, as the strong defender Kevin Garnett will be sitting out on Tuesday. Tristan Thompson, who has played well offensively against the Celtics this season, will be the guy to look for in the paint tonight. It’s also going to be key for Tyler Zeller to run the floor, play physical and get his buckets.
Another key player tonight is C.J. Miles. The shooting guard, who is only shooting 42.4 percent over these last 10 games, is going to be one of the go-to options for the Cavaliers tonight. Expect Shaun Livingston to look to set up Miles and Wayne Ellington for a large amount of wing three pointers.
In theory, the Cavaliers will win this game by running the floor and shooting the three well. They will also need to rebound well and stop the Celtics from getting up into the paint consistently in order to win the game.
For Boston, Jeff Green has been the star as of late. The Georgetown product, a player who has been inconsistent at times, has become Boston’s second option after Paul Pierce. Pierce and Green are likely going to score in oodles, as only Alonzo Gee is a strong defender for the Cavaliers.
Boston’s biggest weakness is their rebounding. At 29th in the league, there is a big opportunity there for the Cavaliers to get a large margin in that category. Led by Thompson, the Cavaliers have a good shot of being able to close the talent gap in that category alone. It’s going to be tough, however. Zeller is not exactly the most physical defender and Marreese Speights has played rather sluggish as of late.
Considering everything, this may not be the most winnable game for the Cavaliers – as are a lot of the games left on their schedule. From here on out, it’s all about the Cavaliers putting in effort and sneaking a win in here and there. At the worst, it can’t be worse than the drubbing the Cavaliers received on Saturday against the Rockets. And if it is equal to or surpasses that effort, then this season will become more lost than it already has.