Cleveland at Boston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – (Special Preview by the Sports Xchange) – The Boston Celtics worked their way up to second place in the East but have yet to prove they can beat the best team in the conference. The Celtics will get another crack at that when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Boston is four games behind the Cavaliers in the standings and might be accused of looking ahead on the schedule after a sub-par performance in a 114-98 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday – its third loss in the last four games. The road ahead only gets more difficult for the Celtics, who head out for a five-game West Coast trip after finishing up with Cleveland that includes stops at Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavaliers fell at home to Chicago on Saturday with LeBron James sitting out but looked like a dominant team again with their superstar back in the lineup against Milwaukee on Monday. “It’s been a great month for our team,” James told reporters after finishing up a 9-2 February with Monday’s 102-95 triumph. “We just played good basketball. We got back to Cavalier basketball and to our DNA, so it definitely helped a lot.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Ohio (Cleveland), CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (41-17): James challenged his front office to add players when the team was struggling in January and they will bring in a former star in point guard Deron Williams, who signed on Monday after being waived by the Dallas Mavericks. “Automatic leadership,” James told reporters of what Williams will bring to the team. “He’s ran a franchise – multiple franchises – before, so you know he knows how to run a ball club. He’s played in big games before, so you know he won’t shy away from the moment.” Williams averaged 13.1 points and 6.9 assists in 40 games for the Mavericks and is expected to back up All-Star Kyrie Irving.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (38-22): Boston star Isaiah Thomas struggled to 19 points on 4-of-21 shooting on Monday, ending his franchise-record streak of 20-point games at 43. “That’s how it is when you want to be great,” Thomas told reporters. “No, I’m not worried about it. One of those games. Like I said, what was it 40-something games (of 20 points or more)? I’ll break it. I’m not worried about the record.” Thomas also matched a season high with seven turnovers in Monday’s setback as the Celtics surrendered 25 points on 18 miscues.
1. Celtics SG Avery Bradley (Achilles) returned from an 18-game absence on Monday and scored six points in 15 minutes.
2. Cavaliers SG Iman Shumpert is 5-of-22 from the field over the last three games.
3. Cleveland took each of the last three meetings – all at home – and scored an average of 124 points in the three contests.