The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to bounce back after an anemic offensive performance against the Thunder as they visit the Celtics on Friday night.
Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (4-16) vs. Boston Celtics (11-10)
When? 7:00 PM EST
Where? TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Enemy Blog: Celtics Blog
Cavs injuries: Kevin Love (Foot - Out), George Hill (Shoulder - Out), Sam Dekker (Ankle - Out), J.R. Smith (Not With Team), David Nwaba (Knee - Out)
Celtics injuries: Al Horford (Rest - Out), Jaylen Brown (Back - out), Terry Rozier (Knee - probable)
The Cavaliers sputtered offensively against the switchy and athletic Thunder. Another challenge presents itself against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are dealing with their own up-and-down season, sitting just one game over .500 while struggling to discover their identity with a fully healthy roster.
Sometimes, a team can have too many players, and the Celtics are stocked with like-sized and like-skilled players. It makes it hard to delineate roles and everybody is currently trying to do a little too much. The Celtics will be coming in short-handed with Al Horford and Jaylen Brown out, but in a way, that could actually help set everything into place, if not for just one game.
Keys to the game
- How will Alec Burks play?. The Cavaliers are short on three-point shooting, and traded a top-five shooter in the league to Utah a couple days ago. Burks has off-the-bounce game and a nice jumper. Larry Drew says Burks will suit up — how much run he’ll get in his debut will be interesting to see.
Sexton’s about to learn a lesson. Most of Collin Sexton’s defensive struggles aren’t the byproduct of poor effort. They’re the byproduct of poor footwork, positioning, and balance. He’ll often lunge in wayward directions to try to avoid being hit by a screen and lose contact with his man altogether. He also often finds himself sealed by his man under the hoop for a quick layup after a drive. Nobody is better at manipulating that small bit of space on the pick and roll than Kyrie Irving. There’s a real chance Sexton gets put in the torture chamber tonight with Boston short-handed and Aron Baynes setting punishing screens.
Entice Boston’s worst instincts. This is a Boston team that is highly talented and features several players that believe they can get off a clean mid-range look against anybody. Unfortunately, what that’s meant for them is that they take a hilarious amount of mid-rangers early in the shot clock. The Cavaliers need to bait these bad shots out of Boston at the expense of threes and shots at the rim if they want a chance in this game.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
Boston hasn’t played since Monday and is coming off a sorely needed win. The Cavaliers got worse by trading Kyle Korver to Utah (not that they shouldn’t have done it.) Boston’s at home and takes this one 108-99.