Celtics Host Cavs Before Heading Out on the Road

Cleveland Cavaliers (8-36) at Boston Celtics (33-10)
Tuesday, January 25
Regular Season Game #44, Home Game #25
TV:  CSN-NE,  FSO,  NBA-LP 753/754
Radio:  WEEI,  WTAM
TD Garden  
Referees:  Mike Callahan, John Goble,  Scott Twardoski
This is the 3rd and final meeting between these two teams.   The first meeting between these two teams came on the second night of the season.  The Celtics were playing in the second of back to back games, having won an emotional home opener against the Heat the night before.  The Cavs were playing in their home opener and played with a lot of energy and fire while the Celtics came out flat and lacked intensity and focus throughout the game.

The second game was a different story as the Celtics went into Cleveland and beat the Cavs 106-87.   The Cavs have had even more injury problems than the Celtics.  They have played a couple of games with just 9 players available.   Their energy guy, Varejao is out for the rest of the season.  Mo Williams is out indefinitely and they have had others in and out of the lineup all season.

After their lackluster performance against the Wizards, the Celtics have said that they know that they have been playing down to competition and know that they can't do that and expect a win.  Every game matters when you have the goal of winning the championship.  These are the games they must win and hopefully the Celtics learned a lesson in their loss to the Wizards that will serve them in this game and in the future vs teams that are struggling.

The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Wizards after having won their previous 4 games.  The Cavs are 0-10 in their last 10 games and have lost 17 in a row, after losing to the Nets on Monday night.  The Celtics are 21-3 on their home court while the Cavs are just 3-21 on the road.  Anything less than 100% effort from the Celtics will be inexcusable in this game after their loss on Saturday.  Otherwise, they might find themselves being the only team to lose their series to the Cavs this season. 

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo.......Ray Allen.......Paul Pierce.......Kevin Garnett...... Semih Erden

Boston Bench Mob
Marquis Daniels
Glen Davis
Luke Harangody
Nate Robinson
Von Wafer


Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Delonte West (wrist)  out
Shaquille O'Neal (hip) out
Marquis Daniels (family) questionable

Avery Bradley

Probable Starters
Ramon Sessions.....Daniel Gibson.....Christian Eyenga....Antawn Jamison.....JJ Hickson

Cavaliers Bench
Ryan Hollins
Manny Harris
Jawad Williams
Jamario Moon
Samardo Samuels

Anthony Parker  (back)  questionable
Leon Powe (knee)  out
Ramon Sessions (abdominal strain)  Questionable
Anderson Varejao (ankle)  out
Mo Williams (hip)  out

Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
You have to feel sorry for Jamison, he went to the Cavs to be on a contender and then the floor dropped out, but he is a legit player and is capable of having a big game.  KG needs to be aggressive on both ends.

Ray Allen vs Daniel Gibson
Gibson is streaky but can get hot and put up points in a hurry.  Ray needs to keep Gibson off his spots while making him work on defense.  

Honorable Mention
Celtics vs Celtics 
  The Celtics biggest foe in this game is themselves.  If they stop playing team ball and lose focus and start going through the motions as they did against the Wizards, they could beat themselves but if they play Celtics basketball and come in focused and play as a team,  this should be a win.

Rajon Rondo vs Ramon Sessions
Sessions was listed as questionable after an abdominal strain a couple of days ago, but he played 36 minutes vs the Nets last night so should be good to go for this one, unless he re-injured it in last night's game.   Rondo should be able to have a big game against Sessions if he stays focused.  

Keys to the Game
Focus - The Celtics have shown that when they come out focused and keep their intensity throughout the game, they win.  Their losses have come when they lose their focus and play without energy or intensity.  The Wizards clearly played harder and with more energy than the Celtics did in the second half of their win over the Celtics.  The Celtics must bring their focus and intensity to this game.  Anything less than 100% effort would be unacceptable.  

Rebound -  Rebounding is mostly desire and effort.   When the Celtics put out the effort to out-rebound their opponents, they usually get the win.  They have to make the effort to grab the rebounds to keep the Cavs from getting second chance points.  When they put the effort in to crash the boards, that effort also tends to show in other areas of the game as well.

Defense -  Defense is the key to every game.  The Celtics won banner 17 with defense and if they want to win banner 18 they must once again do it with defense.  They have played that kind of defense in the big games this season, but let their guard down when the teams are below .500.  They have to play tough team defense in every game if they want to win.

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have reverted to relaxing when they get a lead and they just can't do that.  They have to come out strong and play tough until the final buzzer.  There should be no slacking on effort from start to finish.  

Share the Ball
-  Against the Wizards, the ball stopped moving in the second half.  We saw iso's and a lot of dribbling but the unselfishness and the ball movement went away, and so did their lead.   When they move the ball and make the extra pass and find the open man, they are hard to beat.  When they lapse into "hero ball" it's hard to win. 

Official Report
Mike Callahan
Callahan has officiated over 940+ regular season games, 65+ play-off games and 5 NBA Finals games in over 17 years as an NBA referee. Callahan is one of 4 refs to come out of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Pennsylvania. The other 3 are Joey Crawford, Ed Malloy and Tim Donaghy. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 8-2 over their last 10 games with Callahan officiating. His home W/L record this season is 24-9.

John Goble
John Goble is a relatively new referee in the NBA in his 3rd season in the league. He’s officiated 165 regular season games and 2 playoff games. The Celtics are 3-0 this season and 8-2 over their last 10 games that Goble has officiated. His home W/L record this season is 26-11.

Scott Twardoski
Twardoski is very new to the NBA. He called just 6 games last season and this is his 7th game this season. He worked 8 years as a college ref and has also worked in the WNBA before coming to the NBA. This is his first Celtics game this season. His home W/L record this season is 5/1


Focus and Energy
If the focus and energy are there, the Celtics will win.  If they lose focus and go through the motions as they did against the Wizards, they could very well lose to the worst team in the league.