#CavsCeltics Game Preview - January 3, 2018

TD Garden, 8:00 p.m. ET

Game Summary

The Cavaliers (25-12) battle their first Eastern Conference opponent of the new year in the second leg of a back-to-back when they travel to Boston on Wednesday night to take on the Celtics (30-10). Tipoff from the TD Garden is at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

The Wine & Gold got back in the win column following last night's, 127-110, win over the Portland Trail Blazers, which was also their 13th straight home win this season. The Cavs will look to continue their winning ways, this time on the road when they tipoff against the Celtics for the first contest of a five-game road trip.

With last night's victory, the Cavs are tied with Golden State for the best record in the NBA at 20-5 (.800) since November 11, 2017. In the win, the club dished out 28 assists and shot 43-83 (.518) from the field, including 13-32 (.406) from three-point territory. Cleveland bested the Trail Blazers in fast break points (18-3) and scored 25 points off of Portland’s 15 turnovers. They also had a 74-54 advantage in scoring in the second half.

A big part of their recent success comes from their exceptional three-point play. The Wine & Gold have made at least 10 three-pointers in 26 straight games, which is tied for the 3rd-longest streak in NBA history (Boston, 26 straight from 1/21/2017-3/15/2017). Only Houston has recorded longer stretches of consecutive games with 10 or more threes (31 straight from 10/25/2017-present and 27 straight from 10/28/2016-12/17/2016).

The club's bench has also been a huge shoulder to lean on this season. Last night, the reserves outscored Portland’s reserves 61-23, increasing their average to 40.5 points this season (5th-highest in NBA). In his first career game as a Cavalier, Isaiah Thomas led all bench players with 17 points (6-12 FG) to go along with three assists in 19 minutes

Speaking of I.T., since the NBA started recording minutes played in 1951–52, only four other players have scored as many points and played less than 20 minutes in a win in their first game for a team: Joe Caldwell (21 points for the St. Louis Hawks in 1965), Johnny Neumann (21 for the Buffalo Braves in 1976), Richie Frahm (18 for Timberwolves in 2005) and Tim Thomas (20 for Suns in 2006).

I.T.'s former team, the Boston Celtics, have had tremendous success this season as well. In the 2017-18 season, the Celtics have posted the highest-rated defense in NBA by defensive rating at 100.5. They are also allowing the second fewest points in the league at 98.5 ppg.

The Celtics biggest highlight as a team this season came when the team tallied 16-straight wins. The C's are also the first team in NBA history to record 16-straight victories after dropping the first two games of the season.

Boston is currently riding a three-game winning streak, with their most recent win coming against the Brooklyn Nets on New Year's Eve. In the win, point guard Kyrie Irving tallied 28 total points as well as eight rebounds and two assists. Marcus Morris followed in Irving's footsteps, posting 15 points and two rebounds.


Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, ESPN

Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega

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


Probable Starters/Status Update*

#81 - Jose Calderon

#5 - JR Smith

#23 - LeBron James

#99 - Jae Crowder

#0 - Kevin Love

#11 - Kyrie Irving

#7 - Jaylen Brown

#0 - Jayson Tatum

#42 - Al Horford

#46 - Aron Baynes

Status Update: (Cavs) - Derrick Rose, (Left ankle sprain, Out), Iman Shumpert, (Left knee effusion, Out), Isaiah Thomas, (Back-to-back game, return to play from injury protocol, Out)

Status Update: (Celtics) - None to report

*Subject to change.


Head-to-Head Matchup

Tonight's matchup is the second of three contests between the Cavs and Celtics this season.

The last time these two teams squared off was in the 2017-18 season opener on Oct. 17, which was a 102-99 home win for the Cavs. Defensively, Cleveland held the Celtics to 36-87 (.414) shooting from the field, including 8-32 (.250) from three-point range. In the first half, Cleveland’s defense allowed 38 points on 16-47 (.340) shooting and a 2-16 (.125) mark from beyond the arc.

The Wine & Gold are 14-3 over the last 17 matchups against Boston (includes 2015 & 2017 Playoffs) and hold a 35-8 record against Atlantic Division opponents since the 2015-16 season (14-4 in 2015-16, 16-2 in 2016-17, 5-2 in 2017-18).

Following tonight's matchup between the two clubs, they'll round out their three-game series in Boston again on Feb. 11.


On Deck

Following Wednesday's dual with the Celtics, the Cavs will continue their longest road trip of the season on Saturday when they travel to the Sunshine State to take on the Orlando Magic. The Cavs will then take on Minnesota Timberwolves (Jan. 8), the Toronto Raptors (Jan. 11) and finally the Indiana Pacers (Jan. 12) in the final three legs of the five-game roadie. The Wine & Gold return to The Land on Monday, January 15 for a rematch with the Golden State Warriors. Tipoff from The Q is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (ET).

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