at Cleveland Cavaliers (7-11) at Boston Celtics (9-9)
Sunday, January 29
Regular Season Game #19, Home Game #12
TV: CSN-NE, FSO, NBA-LP 751/752
Radio: WEEI, WTAM
Referees: Marc Davis, Eric Lewis, Scott Wall
This is the first meeting between these two teams and is the first game in the Celtics third home and home series this season. They fared very well in their first two home and home series, sweeping both the Wizards and the Magic in the previous two.
Last season the Celtics won the series 2-1 with the loss coming in the second game of the season, the night after their big win over the Heat. The Cavs have struggled since LeBron went to South Beach and took his talents with him. Their wins have come against other struggling teams, including Detroit, New Jersey, Charlotte, and Minnesota. But, if the Celtics don't stay focused and play them tough, they do have enough talent to pull out a win.
The Celtics should get Ray Allen and Jermaine O'Neal back for this game as both have said they are targeting this game for their return. It will be interesting to see how the change in the lineup will change the chemistry and play of the team that has won 4 in a row. It will definitely make the bench better with the reinsertion of Pietrus and Bass.
This could be a trap game if the Celtics come into it thinking they can with it without putting out the effort. They need to play the Cavs as hard as they would the Magic or the Lakers, or the Pacers. If they do, then their win streak should reach 5.
Paul Pierce vs Omri Casspi
Paul Pierce has lifted his game to another level during the Celtics' 4 game win streak. He should be able to have another big game in this one in spite of playing big minutes the past 2 games. It's good to have him back to being the Truth!
Jermaine O'Neal vs Anderson Varejao
This will be a tough matchup for the Celtics. Varejao plays with a lot of energy and also plays rough. JO will have his hands full trying to hold Varejao down.
Avery Bradley vs Kyrie Irving
Bradley will need to use his defensive skills on Irving, who is an early candidate for Rookie of the Year. Keys to the Game Focus - The Celtics have shown that when they come out focused and keep their intensity, especially on defense, throughout the game, they win. They need to stay focused now that they have proved that they can beat the better teams and not play down to the Cavs level. They must also focus on taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers.
Rebound - Rebounding is mostly desire and effort. When the Celtics put out the effort to out-rebound their opponents, they usually get the win. When they put the effort in to crash the boards, that effort also tends to show in other areas of the game as well. They out-rebounded the Magic and the Pacers, both good rebounding teams, because they made the effort to hustle for every rebound. They need to continue to do that.
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 their last 3 games vs the Magic and the Pacers. They have to continue to make defense a priority and not allow any easy baskets.
Davis has been an NBA official for the past 14 seasons, working 802 regular season games and 35 playoff games, and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Davis officited his first two Finals games during the 2010-11 season. In addition to his NBA experience, Davis has three years of CBA officiating experience, and three
years of collegiate basketball officiating experience. Davis was investigated for threatening to whoop Allen Iverson's a** when AI complained about a call in a game in 2005, but was not suspended for it. The Celtics are 8-2 in their last 10 games with Davis officiating and have won the last 8 games he has called. The Cavs are 2-8 in their last 10 games with Davis on the court. His home W/L record is 7-6.
This is Lewis' seventh season as an NBA official. He has 427 regular season games and six playoff games. Prior to the NBA he worked three seasons in the NBA Development League, where he worked the 2004 D-League Finals and the 2003 and 2004 Playoffs. He also has 8 years experience calling college games and 6 years officiating high school games. In the offseason he works with troubled teens. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Lewis as a ref. The free throw totals were fairly close in all 4 losses with opponents taking 95 free throws and the Celtics taking 91 over the 4 games. The Cavs are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Lewis. His home W/L record this season is 10-6.
The son of former USA Basketball Director Bill Wall, Scott Wall has officiated
908 regular season games and five playoff games over his past 16 NBA seasons. In addition to his NBA experience, Wall has four years of officiating experience for
USA Basketball, four years of collegiate officiating experience in the college ranks, and five years of high school officiating experience in Kansas
and Alabama. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Wall as an official. The Cavs are 3-7 in their last 10 games with Wall. His home W/L record this season is 9-3.
Focus and Energy
If the focus and energy are there, the Celtics will win. If they lose focus and feel they can play less than their best because of the Cavs record, then they may be surprised.