Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers Preview
The Boston Celtics (34-19) head over to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers Tuesday evening. The Celtics have been looking strong lately: they are 9-1 in their last 10 games and have won their last four. The Cavs season, on the other hand, has been a letdown to say the least. They come into Tuesday night’s matchup with an 11-42 record and are 3-7 in their last 10.
This will be the third meeting between the two historic teams. The January 23rd matchup saw the Celtics come out victorious in a dominant 123-103 win. The first quarter was tight, but the Celtics outscored the Cavs 38-20 in the second quarter and controlled the game from that point on. Terry Rozier came up big for the Celtics with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. The Celtics took the first game as well on November 30th by a score of 128-95. Kyrie Irving dropped 29 points and Marcus Smart added seven assists in the victory. If the Cavs are to have any hope at revenge, they need to find a way to slow the Celtics fiery offense.
Time: 7:00pm ET
Arena: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Channel: NBCSB, FSO
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Well, maybe the Cavs won’t have to do much at all to slow down the Celtics offense. As rumors about the future of Kyrie Irving fly around, the Celtics announced that Kyrie will be out for the game against Cleveland on Tuesday. This is a result of his recent hip strain. Yet, this should not be a huge blow to the Boston offense, as Irving also missed the team’s last matchup against the Cavs. Irving, statistically speaking, is having arguably the best season of his career. However, recent talks have tended to stray from discussion of his performance and favored discussion about where he will end up after his time with Boston.
When the Celtics came into the regular season, they were expected to be the dominant power in the East. It is not surprising then, that their first 40 or so games were a bit of a letdown with the team struggling to move out of 5th place in the conference standings. Their recent performance, however, has lived up to Celtics fans prior expectations. They’ve moved into 3rd place in the East and, at the moment, show no signs of slowing down.
They won on Sunday against the Thunder by a score of 134-129, a feat quite impressive given that the Thunder came into the matchup having won 7 in a row. Kyrie knocked down 30 points and dished out 11 assists in the victory. Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford all showed up as well, adding 19, 18, and 17 points apiece, respectively.
If the Celtics other starters and bench can make up for the absence of Irving, they should have no problem winning their third straight against the Cavs this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup
Ever since the departure of LeBron James, the Cavs have struggled to get their footing. And let’s be honest, it is likely going to get worse before it gets better. The Cavs may have thought that firing Tyronn Lue was going to make a difference. After all it can’t get much worse than starting the season 0-6. Yet, under Larry Drew the Cavs have gone a whopping 11-36, a winning percentage lower than 25%. In my opinion, that isn’t much better.
The Cavs are coming off of a recent loss against the Mavericks. In the 111-98 defeat, not one Cavs player scored over 20 points and the Mavs controlled over 90% of the game. Obviously, young Mavs star and likely rookie-of-the-year Luka Doncic was a big factor in the win as he knocked down 35 points. But in the end, the Mavs outscored the Cavs in every single statistical category other than steals. The Cavs also struggled from the arc as they only made 17.4% of 3 pointers compared to the Mavs 41%.
Perhaps the only good thing that has come out of the Cavs 2018-19 season is rookie Collin Sexton. Sexton is 4th amongst all rookies in points scored, ranks 2nd in 3-pointers made, and is tied for 5th in assists.
Another interesting fact is that the Cavs recently acquired Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin IV from the Portland Trail Blazers (along with two second-round draft picks). Neither player, however, has had a huge role in Portland’s successes in the West, and the Cavs giving up Rodney Hood in the trade makes the deal rather questionable.
So, while Cleveland previously hoped to be successful in the post-Lebron era, injuries, bad trades, and questionable coaching have left them in pretty bad shape. Therefore, while a victory against the Celtics isn’t out of the question, it is still unlikely.
Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Odds
In this matchup, NBA betting odds have the Celtics winning by 13. The current over/under is set at 214.5. And the NBA free score prediction has the Celtics winning 117-101. With the Cavaliers struggling as much as they are this season, Boston is definitely the safer pick as winners.
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