GameDay Preview: Cavs at Celtics

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Anderson Varejao, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Steve Babineau/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (5-21) head back out on the road to take on the Boston Celtics (12-12) at the TD Garden. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tonight marks the Cavaliers ninth of 22 pairs of back-to-backs this season.

The Wine and Gold will look to snap a four-game skid after falling 113-99 to the Toronto Raptors last night. The Celtics are hoping to end a three-game losing streak of their own after being defeated by the Chicago Bulls 100-89 on Monday.

In the loss to Toronto, Kyrie Irving led the Wine and Gold with 23 points and Anderson Varejao chipped in 22 points and 10 rebounds. On the season, Irving is averaging career-highs in points (23.7) and assists (5.7) while Varejao is also putting up career numbers, averaging 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds.

With Ray Allen leaving Boston via free agency, the "Big Three" now consists of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. Pierce is averaging a team-high 19.8 points, Garnett a team-high 7.0 rebounds and Rondo a team-high 12.7 assists.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Celtics: PG - Rajon Rondo, SG - Courtney Lee, SF - Paul Pierce
PF - Brandon Bass, C - Kevin Garnett

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Right Knee Contusion, Game Time Decision), Daniel Gibson, (Right Ankle Sprain, Game Time Decision)
(Celtics) - Avery Bradley, (Shoulder Surgeries, Day-to-Day)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series, 115-69 against the Celtics despite holding a 48-45 advantage in games played in Cleveland.

The last time the two teams faced each other in Boston, the Cavaliers knocked off the Celtics 88-87 thanks to a Kyrie Irving layup with 3 seconds remaining.

Key to the Game/Key Matchups

Key to the Game

Putting Together Four Quarters
The Wine and Gold have been competitive in just about every game they have played this season and have put together some spectacular quarters and halfs; however, keeping that play throughout the entire game has been challenging.

With the team finally back at full-strength, the Cavaliers are able to have set rotations and can begin to develop some continuity within their units. This should lead to more consistent play throughout all four quarters.

Key Matchups

1, 3, 5
Fans will be in for a treat as tonight's game features some very entertaining matchups.

Beginning with the point guard position, the matchup between Kyrie Irving and Rajon Rondo will dictate the pace of the game. Both floor generals are extremely crafty with the basketball and can penetrate the defense at will. The team that can limit the amount of times each point guard makes his way into the paint will have a distinct advantage.

Moving along to the small forward matchup, Alonzo Gee will aim to contain Paul Pierce. Gee has undoubtedly been the Cavaliers defensive stopper and he will have to be on his A-game tonight against Pierce and his array of head fakes and hesitation moves.

Last, but certainly not least, will be the matchup of the big men in the middle. Anderson Varejao and Kevin Garnett are famously known for being two of the more feisty post players in the NBA and will surely take their play to another level as they square off against each other tonight.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 222, Sirius 136, NBA League Pass Audio