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Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics: Game preview, start time

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The Cavs square off in a showdown between two coaches looking to prove they can relate to NBA players.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Last meeting between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics came down to the wire. But with the Cavs in a tailspin, things will likely be much different this time around.

Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (5-17) vs. Boston Celtics (16-5)

When? 7:30 p.m EST

Where? TD Bank Arena, Boston, Massachusetts

Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass

Even without Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics have been playing great basketball lately. The team is coming off wins against two of the best teams in the league in the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.

Meanwhile the Cavs have lost eleven of the last twelve games, as well as six consecutive heading into Monday’s game. With games against the Rockets, Spurs, Bucks and Raptors after Monday, there’s no clear respite.

So while the schedule continues to do the team no favors, they’ll have to figure out a way to pull off an upset win.

What the Cavs need to do better is obvious. How they get there... not so much. The effort levels from the start of the season just aren’t there anymore. Knowing how much effort goes into being somewhat competitive with little payoff has clearly taken it’s toll on the vets.

But outside of an early season effort game from an injured Kevin Love, there are other things that can be done to give the team a better shot.

Controlled aggression from Collin Sexton and Darius Garland would be a good start. Boston won’t give up many easy opportunities, so they will need to capitalize on open looks when they come up. There can’t be the same hesitation that we’ve seen from Garland if they are going to have any hope of putting up enough points to remain competitive.

When Boston is in position defensively, the Sexland duo will need to not press offensively. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are all capable of generating turnovers and capitalizing.

Even if these efforts don’t result in a win, some feel good performances from some of the Cavs youth is sorely needed. This team is going to lose a lot this season, but small signs of growth along the way can help keep faith alive both for the players and the fans.

Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction

The Cavs lose ugly, just not as ugly as last week. Boston wins 117-98.