Cleveland Cavs at Boston Celtics
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, December 9, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to take small steps forward but find themselves taking very large steps back of late. The Cavaliers will try to bounce back from a 47-point loss when they visit the Boston Celtics in the second of a two-game trip tonight.
Cleveland is mired in a six-game losing streak and battled hard in a 93-87 setback against Orlando on Friday before falling flat on the second night of the back-to-back at Philadelphia on Saturday.
“We’re just laying eggs,” Cavaliers veteran forward Kevin Love, who recently became the subject of trade rumors, told reporters after Saturday’s setback. “We’re getting beat by 20, 30, 40 points. You know, it’s been very ugly. We can talk and talk and talk and so can coach, but until we go out there and actually do it, I don’t know what is going to happen.”
The Celtics have yet to fall at home and improved to 9-0 in their own building with a 108-95 victory over Denver on Friday. “Thought the key to tonight’s game was we kept out with great energy,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the win. “We played really hard and well together, and then when they made their run, we hit really timely, often tough shots. Sometimes it really is that you make a shot at that moment that you needed to make a shot to kind of start a run and tonight felt like that.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Cleveland), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (5-17): John Beilein, who is in his first season coaching Cleveland, knows he signed up for a rebuilding effort but is getting frustrated with the NBA schedule. “We haven’t been 100 percent several times,” Beilein told reporters. “We haven’t been able to practice as people make adjustments. Our schedule has been relentless. Almost everywhere that we’ve played has been a playoff team. Teams are just better than us. There have been a couple recent games that we could have won. All the other games that we’ve lost were against teams that are frankly better than us at this point of the season.”
That schedule doesn’t let up as the Cavaliers head home to face Houston on Wednesday before a three-game road trip that starts in San Antonio the next night.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (16-5): Boston is positioning itself near the top of the Eastern Conference again this season is due in large part to the play of developing stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who combined for 47 points on 18-of-34 shooting in Friday’s win. Tatum (21.2 points) and Brown (20) are two of three players on the Celtics averaging at least 20 points (Kemba Walker, 21.8 points) as they bounce back from disappointing 2018-19 campaigns.
“Just being aggressive, just coming out and being aggressive coming out and executing the game plan,” Brown told reporters of the secret to the pair’s success. “Our coaching staff, our front end just believe in us, so we just try and come out and be aggressive. There is a lot of responsibility with that, but I think we are coming out pretty good.”
- Cavaliers SF Cedi Osman was held to two points on Friday after averaging 14.6 points over the previous five contests.
- Celtics SF Gordon Hayward (hand) returned to practice on Sunday and could return to action this week or even tonight..
- Boston is riding a five-game winning streak in the series, including a 119-113 triumph at Cleveland on Nov. 5.
PREDICTION: Celtics 110, Cavaliers 93