Is it sad that I basically expected the Cavs to go 1-4 on that five-game road trip? Don't answer that. That's exactly what they did (with the one win coming against the free falling Portland Trail Blazers), but now they return home for a lengthy...two-game homestand. Woo.
7:00 PM Eastern
Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, OH
Where on my eyeballs?
Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
To say that the first half of the 2012-13 NBA season has been unkind to the Cavaliers would be an epic understatement. After 42 games, the Cavs sit at 10-32 and are far from the borderline playoff team that some expected. Similarly (and not unrelated), Cleveland has been completely unable to stay healthy. The latest blow, of course, comes from the news that Anderson Varejao has developed a blood clot and will miss the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers react to not having Varejao. They could rally around the injured big man and play with inspired energy -- or they could mope around and fall flat on their faces.
The Boston Celtics have been struggling as of late. They are currently chilling at 20-20 and not looking the part of a title contender that they claimed to be during the summer. Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley have provided a mild boost, but the team, as a whole isn't play particularly well. Rajon Rondo looks lackadaisical on defense and the offense is really struggling to score. Remember when the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Cavs earlier this season and everybody proclaimed that "rock bottom"? A win tonight could send the Celtics to "rock bottom." And who doesn't love that?
Daniel Gibson is apparently sick and may not play in tonight's game. That's not a big deal because he wasn't getting any playing time anyway. Most of his minutes have gone to Shaun Livingston recently and that seems to be working out fine.
Dion Waiters has put together some stronger games as of late. He has been MUCH more aggressive and seems to be cutting down on the horrible step-back jumpers. He still has another 40 games in his rookie season and has plenty of time to put together consistent performances. His talent is apparent and it will be exciting to see him grow as the year goes on. Unfortunately, Waiters draws a difficult assignment with Avery Bradley guarding him tonight. He needs to remember to stay aggressive and not fall into the trap of settling when Bradley gives him problems. If he continues to attack, he'll get more foul calls and easier buckets.
Kyrie Irving will likely be fantastic. He usually is.
Tristan Thompson could be the X-factor in this game. The Celtics are not a very good rebounding team and Tristan could be a monster on the offensive glass. If the Cavs are able to get multiple second-chance opportunities, they could make life very difficult for the Celtics.
I have no idea if the Cavs' new players will player or not. I assume that they won't but you never know.
The Celtics' defense kind of falls apart when Kevin Garnett leaves the game. Unfortunately, the Cavs' bench is so horrific that they probably won't be able to take advantage of that. Byron Scott would be wise to stagger his substitutions to attack the rim as much as possible when Garnett is on the bench.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
Cavaliers pull the upset at home and rally around the bad Andy news. Boston continues their slide and Kyrie goes bananas. Cavs win 105-97.