The Boston Celtics will be facing less than a full-strength Cavaliers squad on October 28, as Cleveland has announced 2022 All-Star Darius Garland will miss his fourth straight game following an eye-poke by Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. during their October 19 season-opener.
Per Jon Rudder, Garland was officially listed as out on the Cav’s injury report ahead of the Friday night face-off.
Without Garland, the Cavaliers have won 3 straight games with Donovan Mitchell leading the charge. Mitchell has assumed full-time point guard duties with Isaac Okoro and Dean Wade starting on the wing.
Cleveland will be expecting injured floor general Ricky Rubio back sometime in December. Signed in the offseason after a successful stint in 2021-22 before being traded to the Indiana Pacers for Caris LeVert following a December 2021 ACL tear.
The Boston Celtics must dominate on the perimeter
Things will be difficult for the Boston Celtics on the wing without sharpshooting combo big Grant Williams in the lineup due to “recklessly making contact with and directing inappropriate language toward a game official,” against the Chicago Bulls per a league press release.
Still, they must win the game along the perimeter with the oversized Cavaliers frontcourt protecting the rim. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley both average a block per game, and Mobley is even using his length to nab a steal per game as well.
Luckily, the Boston Celtics lead the league in makes from behind the arc, with 15.8 per game, one of only 2 teams with as much volume from beyond the arc. Sam Hauser having an increased role could help the Cs dominate in that regard, while Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Smart, and even Jaylen Brown could stand to improve their 3-point shooting. With that said, Hauser, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Derrick White, and Payton Pritchard are all shooting 37% or above.
If Boston could have itself a night from behind the 3-point line, they’ll do well to cover a somewhat sizable spread as a favorite against a young and burgeoning Eastern Conference contender.