Boston Celtics (12-4) at Cleveland Cavaliers (7-9)
Tuesday, November 30
7:00 PM ET
Game #17, Away Game #9
TV: CSNNE, FSO, NBAC, NBA-TV
Radio: WTAM, WEEI
Quicken Loans Arena
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Kevin Cutler, John Goble
When last thesetwo teams met, the Celtics were coming off a very emotional opening night win over the Heat and the Cavs were playing in their home and season opener. The Cavs played with a lot of emotion and the Celtics didn't. That resulted in the Celtics' 87-95 loss, their first of the season. The Cavs now are looking toward a very emotional game on Thursday as LeBron comes back to Cleveland for the first time.
Both teams come into this one well rested. The Celtics last played on Friday and the Cavs last played on Saturday. The emotional boost of the home opener and seeing the Heat fall in their season opener have worn off since they last met. The Celtics are dealing with injuries that have weakened their bench while the Cavs are healthy with no injuries to report.
The Celtics have won their last 3 games while the Cavs beat the Grizzlies in their last game but are just 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Celtics will be looking to avenge that first loss. Anything less than a full effort from them in this game would be unacceptable.
Boston Bench Mob
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Delonte West (wrist) out
Probable Starters PGSGSFPFC Mo Williams.....Anthony Parker.....Joey Graham.....JJ Hickson..... Anderson Varejao
Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams
This will be a good matchup between 2 all star point guards, one on the way up and the other on the way down. With LeBron gone, it will be up to Mo to up his scoring and it will be up to Rondo to be sure he doesn't. Williams is capable of burning the Celtics if they let up on defense. With one game back and 3 days off, Rondo should be good to go with no lingering effects from his hamstring injury but he is still dealing with pain from the plantar fasciitis.
Shaquille O'Neal vs Anderson Varejao
Varejao plays with a lot of energy and could be a very tough matchup for Shaq. But Shaq also knows his game from playing against him in practice and that could give Shaq a slight advantage mentally. Containing Varejao will be essential if the Celtics want to win this one.
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 lack focus and play without intensity.
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.
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 spurts this season but must get back to making defense a priority.
Bench Play - The Celtics bench has been underachieving and in games like this where they are playing again the next night, the bench must come through with some good minutes in order to allow the starters some rest and not give the Cavs an advantage when the starters are resting.
The Cavs beat the Celtics once already this season. The Celtics' will be looking to avenge that loss and not allow the Cavs to win or tie the series between them.