After that sweet win in Boston and a few annoying injuries, the Cavaliers return home to play the Celtics once more. The Cavs took advantage of the C's letting up at the end of the game and their utter inability to stop Kyrie Irving (this is becoming a recurring theme throughout the league) and were able to pull out an unlikely win. If you think, however, that the Celtics won't be prepared for tonight's game, then you don't know Doc Rivers or his team very well.
Song Of The Day: Jump - Kriss Kross
Boston Celtics (9-10) at Cleveland Cavaliers (8-11)
Rajon Rondo will once again be out against the Cavaliers with a wrist injury, but the Cavs are not without injury concerns of their own. Both Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson will be out tonight forcing Byron Scott to use either Mychel Thompson or Alonzo Gee at shooting guard. With a backcourt this thin, don't be surprised if Irving sees up to 40 minutes tonight.
If you follow me on Twitter (and you totally should), then you'll see that I was caught up on basketball-reference.com and kept finding cool stats. I was trying to figure out precisely how good Kyrie's rookie season has been thus far. Ultimately, I stumbled upon this stat and was stunned by the results. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee Kyrie continues at this pace for the entire season, but if he does, then we're looking at something historic.
Using BBR's search index, I set the requirements as rookies who recorded 17 points per game, 4 assists per game, and 50% shooting from the field. Here's what came up:
(click on the image to enlarge it)
Needless to say, that's some pretty damn good company for Kyrie as a rookie.
Hmm, what else do I need to say here? I'm assuming most, if not all of you watched Sunday's game against the Celtics and were able to see what worked and what didn't. Antawn Jamison did not shoot well at all on Sunday, but he wasn't taking abnormally bad shots. Ramon Sessions also had an off game in Boston and now there is an added dynamic to his game tonight. His name has officially been thrown around in trade rumors and every player reacts to this differently. It could be an added motivation for him to succeed or it could cause him to press a little too much and have another bad performance. Keep an eye on this.
Cleveland's small forwards did a good job bothering Paul Pierce in the last matchup and it would be very nice, however unlikely, if they could force him to commit seven turnovers again tonight.
As I said in the preview of the first game, the Cavs would benefit by pushing the pace. Anytime a team has Jermaine O'Neal on the floor, you should try to run them to death. The young Cavs may be able to better sustain a fast pace with the energy of a home crowd behind them.
Byron Scott vs. Doc Rivers
I'm always interested in these games where you play the same team two times in a row. In my opinion, it puts a lot more emphasis on the coaching of either squad. You get to watch your opponents' most recent game on film and it was against your own guys. The adjustments that Scott and Rivers make may be the deciding factor in this game. For example, how will Doc manage to keep Anderson Varejao off the offensive class and avoid letting him score easily on the pick and rolls? Who will Byron tab to try to stay with Ray Allen as he runs all around screens and gets open looks?
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
I've been talking so much on Twitter about how well Irving has played that I'm almost certain I have jinxed him. I'm predicting an off-night for Kyrie and the shooting guard situation will prove to hinder the Cavs offense too much for them to overcome. The Celtics get some revenge and pull out a 90-85 win.