GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Celtics
The Cleveland Cavaliers (22-47) return to The Q to take on the Boston Celtics (37-33) for the third matchup between the two teams this season. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.
In a 95-90 win against Boston on January 22nd, Cleveland forced 18 turnovers and scored 20 points off of the Celtics' miscues. Defensively, the Cavaliers rank 8th in the NBA in opponent turnovers per game at 15.5 and 8th in points off turnovers (17.5) this season.
Conversely, the Wine and Gold have been taking good care of the basketball as of late, and since Jan. 14th, the Cavs are averaging an NBA-low 12.6 turnovers per game.
Boston comes into tonight's game having lost five straight games including last night's 100-85 loss to the New York Knicks.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Injuries: (Cavs) - Kyrie Irving, (Left AC (acromioclavicular) Sprain, Out), Anderson Varejao, (Vastus Medialis Split/Surgery, Out), Dion Waiters, (Left Knee Soreness, Out)
(Celtics) - Jared Sullinger, (Lumbar Disc Surgery, Out), Rajon Rondo, (Torn ACL Right Knee, Out), Courtney Lee, (Mild Left Ankle Sprain, Day-to-Day), Kevin Garnett, (Mild Left Ankle Sprain, Day-to-Day)
*Subject to change
The Cavaliers trail the all-time series, 70-116 against the Celtics despite holding a 49-45 advantage in games played in Cleveland.
In the two teams' last meeting, the Cavaliers dished out 28 assists and recorded 13 turnovers on their way to a 95-90 victory.
STATS Fun Fact
Key to the Game/Key Matchups
Get Up and Down the Floor
Three factors are working against the Celtics tonight that should give the Cavaliers an advantage if they choose to increase the pace of the game. 1). Boston is one of the oldest team's in the league, 2). They are slightly depleted because of numerous injuries to key players, and 3). The Celtics are on the heels of a back-to-back having played the night before.
Although the Cavaliers aren't exactly healthy themselves, they are coming off four days of rest and should have fresh legs.
The Wine and Gold should look to use an energetic, swarming defense in hopes of causing turnovers which will lead to fastbreak opportunities.
Cavs Backcourt vs. Celtics Backcourt
With both backcourts facing injures to some key starters, the Cavaliers' tandem of Shaun Livingston and Wayne Ellington versus Boston's duo of Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee will be a key matchup.
Ellington has scored in double figures in three of four starts with the Cavaliers and is averaging 14.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 31.8 minutes during those games.
Livingston has scored in double figures in eight of his nine starts with the Cavs, averaging 13.0 points on .527 shooting from the field, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals in 32.8 minutes per game during that span. He also finished with 14 points on 5-10 (.500) shooting, two steals and one block in 30 minutes in the Wine and Gold's last game on March 22nd.
Bradley is a superb perimeter defender, and since coming back from injury, has started in all 39 games he has played this season averaging 9.3 points.
Lee is battling an ankle injury but provides athleticism and can stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting. On the season, Lee has made 36 starts for the Celtics and is averaging 7.8 points per game.
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