Oh, hey everybody. The NBA is back. Kyrie is back. LeBron (potentially) is back. Let’s go to war, y’all.
When: 8:00 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: Celtics Blog
Online: Watch TNT
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (right hip - OUT), LeBron James (ankle sprain - TBD)
Celtics injuries: Marcus Morris (right knee - OUT), Aron Baynes (left knee - probable)
Three keys to the game
- This one’s obvious, but it’s important: is LeBron James going to play? The whole complexion of the game, both thematically and on the court, changes if he doesn’t play. My guess? He’ll find a way to suit up, but if he does, be prepared for some rust while he acclimates to all the new pieces on the team.
- Who finds rhythm first? Much has been made of the fact that the Celtics only returned four players from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but the Cavs only brought back seven players, and only five of those are likely to be part of the team’s full-time rotation once healthy. The Celtics probably have the slight upper hand as they’ve been mostly without injuries during camp and preseason, but both teams have a lot to learn about themselves.
- How big do the Cavaliers want to play in this one? Kevin Love at center is very valuable, but he could brutalize rookie Jayson Tatum at power forward pretty much whenever he wants, and the Cavs two-big lineups have historically shredded the small-ball Celts. This is obviously a very different team, but if I were Tyronn Lue, I wouldn’t be afraid to give the Celtics a heavy dose of Love-Tristan Thompson lineups.
I don’t care that they don’t play the same position and likely won’t guard each other a ton. This game will be about Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and their interactions during game action and every second in between. The moment one is switched onto another will be electric. Pretending this game is about any other pairing is disingenuous. Let the quiet petty flow.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
If LeBron James plays, the Cavaliers will have a great chance to win this game, rust and all. Cavaliers 111, Celtics 105.