GameDay Preview: Cavs at Celtics

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Tyler Zeller
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (22-52) are back on the road tonight to wrap up their 2012-13 season series with the Boston Celtics (39-36). Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET at the TD Garden.

The Cavs bench contributed 43 points on Wednesday against the Nets. Since Wayne Ellington and Mo Speights played their first game with the Cavaliers on January 25th, the reserves have scored at least 30 points in 24 of 31 games. Cleveland’s bench is averaging 37.2 points during that span.

Furthermore, the Wine and Gold bench came up big in their last meeting against the Celtics, posting a 39-22 advantage over Boston’s reserves.

Boston comes into tonight's ballgame limping into the stretch run, locked into the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture despite injuries to key starters Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett.

Fourteen-year vet, Paul Pierce, continues to carry the Celtics and is averaging 18.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists this season.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Wayne Ellington, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Celtics: PG - Avery Bradley, SG - Paul Pierce, SF - Jeff Green
PF - Brandon Bass, C - Chris Wilcox

Injuries: (Cavs) - 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), Kevin Garnett, (Left Ankle Inflammation, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series, 70-117 against the Celtics despite holding a 49-46 record in games played in Cleveland. The Celtics carry an all-time advantage of 70-21 in games played in Boston.

The last time the Cavs and Celtics met on March 27th, Celtics forward Jeff Green drove the down the lane with 2.1 seconds remaining and flipped home a layup to give Boston a 93-92 victory at the buzzer. In that game, six Cavaliers scored in double figures led by Wayne Ellington's 16 points.

STATS Fun Fact

STATSThe Cavaliers had great ball movement in their last matchup against the Celtics on their way to 26 team assists, including four players with four-plus helpers (Daniel Gibson & C.J. Miles 6, Shaun Livingston 5, Luke Walton 4). In fact, the Wine and Gold made 76 more passes than Boston (341 to 265) throughout the course of the game.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Rebounding

With Boston's best rebounder, Kevin Garnett, sidelined, the Wine and Gold should look to attack the glass tonight.

In the latest meeting between the two teams, Cleveland outrebounded Boston 46-37, including a 9-2 advantage on the offensive glass. The Cavaliers also held the Celtics to two offensive boards in their matchup on December 19th. Cleveland comes into tonight’s contest ranked 6th in the Eastern Conference in offensive rebounds per game (12.1).

Through the first three matchups with Boston, Cleveland has a 10.3 to 4.0 advantage in second chance points. The Cavaliers come into tonight’s contest ranked 2nd in the Eastern Conference in second chance points per game (15.0, 4th overall).

Key Matchup

Point Guard Battle

Despite both backcourts facing injures to some key players, the point guard battle will dictate the pace of tonight's game.

Cavs starting signal caller, Kyrie Irving, has scored at least 20 points in each of his five career contests against the Celtics, including 40 points on 16-24 (.667) shooting, three rebounds, five assists and two steals in 38 minutes in his most recent performance on January 22nd. On the season, Irving is averaging 31.0 points on .610 (25-41) shooting, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 37.5 minutes per game versus Boston.

Irving's backup, Shaun Livingston, has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games. During that span, he is averaging 11.3 points, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 27.7 minutes per game. In the last meeting with the Celtics on March 27th, Livingston finished with 12 points, five assists, one steal and one block in 29 minutes.

Boston's point guard, Avery Bradley, is a superb perimeter defender, and since coming back from injury, has started in all 44 games he has played this season averaging 9.3 points.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: FM 100.7 WMMS, XM & Sirius 885, NBA League Pass Audio

Programming Notes

Cavaliers Live Pregame Show begins at 7:00 p.m. | Tipoff at 7:30 p.m.

• Cleveland, Youngstown/Erie, and Wheeling/Steubenville areas:
- Main FOX Sports Ohio cable channel
- Direct TV: FSOhio
- Dish: FSOhio
- AT&T: FSOhio

• Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus/Lima, Toledo, Charleston/Huntington areas:
- The game is being made available to providers to air on an additional alternate channel *Channel information is listed below by provider
- Direct TV: FSOhio
- Dish: FSOhio
- AT&T: FSOhio

*Alt2 Channel Numbers for Cavs (by affiliate):

Affiliate and Channel Number for FSO Alt 2
Arthur Telephone - 40
Bascom - 143
Benton Ridge - 117
Buckland - 59
Com Net - 46
McClure - 88
Middlepoint Telephone - 80
Ridgeville - 61
Sycamore - 90
TSC Ohio - 823
Wabash - 153
Watch TV - 41
Buckeye - 1131
Cincinnati Bell - 205
WOW - 344
TWC - 334