Following a 15 point loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night, Doc Rivers claimed his team just wanted to win easy. Although not a glowing remark for his team, it should not get much easier than tonight for Boston.
The Celtics take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (10-32), who have the second worst record in the NBA. Making matters worse for Cleveland is the fact Anderson Varejao was ruled out for the season yesterday after doctors discovered a blood clot in his lung. Varejao was the Cavaliers third leading scorer, and was leading the NBA in rebounds per game with 14.4.
Boston will look to snap a three-game losing streak against the wounded Cavaliers. During the Celtics skid, they have averaged only 88.3 points per game. Boston’s offense should see improvement tonight, as Cleveland allows 100.6 ppg.
The first time these two teams met this season, the Celtics were also riding a three game losing streak. Boston took the first game 103-91 back in December, led by Paul Pierce who scored a season high 40 points. As a team, Boston shot an efficient 59.7 percent from the floor.
Keys to the Game:
- Will the Celtics play motivated? Rivers clearly had a problem with his team’s effort in the Detroit loss and called them out for it. Now it is up to the players to respond to their coach’s criticism.
- Slow down Kyrie Irving. He has scored at least 20 points in all four career games against Boston. Despite Avery Bradley suffering from a rib injury, he will be responsible for containing the explosive Irving.
- Boston will need to get their offense going. There has been very little rhythm in the past three games. Cleveland is not a good defensive team by any stretch. Rajon Rondo should be able to get into the paint and create easy scoring chances for himself and others.
- The Celtics need a spark from the bench. Cleveland is not a deep team and players like Jeff Green, Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger should all have matchup advantages when playing against Cavalier reserves. Two of those three players need to have good games, relieving the burden placed on Pierce and Kevin Garnett to score.