GameDay Preview: Cavs at Celtics

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Dion Waiters
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Game Summary

The Wine and Gold return from Thanksgiving to face the Boston Celtics tonight at TD Garden for the first of three regular season matchups in 2013-14.

In their most recent meeting in Boston on April 5, 2013, the Cavs took a 97-91 victory.

That night, Cleveland (4-11) pulled down a season-high 58 rebounds and owned a plus-16 advantage on the glass. The Cavaliers also had the edge in points in the paint (52-38), 2nd chance points (19-12) and fast break points (15-8).

Boston (6-11) has been streaky this season under first-year Head Coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics opened their 2013-14 campaign with four consecutive losses before winning four in a row.

Then, they followed that streak with a six-game slide, then won two straight on the road prior to Wednesday's 100-93 defeat to Memphis.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Matthew Dellavedova, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Andrew Bynum

Celtics: PG - Avery Bradley, SG - Jordan Crawford, SF - Jeff Green
PF - Brandon Bass, C - Jared Sullinger

Injuries: (Cavs) - C.J. Miles, (Right Calf Strain, Doubtful)

(Celtics) - Rajon Rando, (Torn ACL, Right Knee, Out), Kelly Olynyk, (Right Ankle Sprain, Out), Keith Bogans, (Ill, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

Last season, the two teams split the four-game series. In their most recent meeting, Tristan Thompson led the way with a career-high 29 points on 10-17 (.588) shooting, a career-high 17 rebounds and a perfect 9-9 mark from the foul line in 41 minutes, as he became the only player in Cavaliers history to score 29 points, grab 17 rebounds and make at least nine free throws without a miss in a single game.

Cleveland is 71-117 all-time against Boston including a 49-46 record while playing in their own arena (22-70 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Bench Play

Cleveland’s bench has scored at least 50 points in three of the last four games and is averaging 53.5 points over that stretch.

On the season, the Cavs reserves are averaging 36.9 points (6th-most in the NBA) and have outscored the opponent’s bench in 12 of 15 contests. Against Miami on Wednesday, the Cavs’ bench crew outscored the Heat’s reserves 58-32.

Reserve Earl Clark is averaging 9.3 points on .525 (21-40) shooting, including 14-23 (.609) from the three-point line, and 3.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per game over his last six games.

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

In his three appearances against Boston last season, Kyrie Irving averaged 24.3 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 37.7 minutes per game. In the 95-90 win over the Celtics on Jan. 22, Irving scored a game-high 40 points, including 11 of Cleveland’s final 13 points.

In the Cavaliers last outing on Wednesday, Dion Waiters matched his season high with 24 points on 7-14 (.500) shooting, six rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes off the bench .Waiters has scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games, averaging 15.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 30.2 minutes, while shooting .429 (15-35) mark from the three-point line over that span.

Jarrett Jack has put up solid numbers in his last six games, averaging 10.8 points on .519 (28-54) shooting and 4.7 assists in 28.8 minutes over that stretch. On the season, his 3.9 assists per game ranks 2nd among all Eastern Conference reserves (tied-5th among all NBA bench players).

Boston's starting backcourt duo of Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford are impact players on both ends of the floor with Bradley's superb perimeter defense and Crawford's scoring ability.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 221, Sirius 218

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check cavs.com for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Programming Note

Tonight, FOX Sports Ohio is airing the Cavs – Celtics game (7:30 p.m.) and the Blue Jackets – Oilers game (7:00 p.m.). Please refer to these programming details by clicking here.

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head back to Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night to take on the Chicago Bulls at 7:30 pm. ET.