Celtics Begin Title Defense with Playoff Rematch

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Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)Tuesday, October 28
8:00 PM ET
Season Game #1, Home Game #1
TV:  TNT
Radio:  WEEI, WTAM
TD Banknorth Garden

Cavs Blogs:    Waiting For Next Year  l   Fear the Sword  l   Cavalier Attitude

The Celtics open their title defense with a repeat of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.   These two teams clashed in the preseason with the Celtics coming away with a 96-94 win.  In that game, the Cavs lead for most of three quarters but the Celtics outscored the Cavs 23-15 in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.

The Cavs took the Celtics to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals last season, with each team winning on its own court.   In the off season, the Cavs improved themselves with the addition of point guard Mo Williams who will give them another option on offense.  After seeing the difference that defense has made for the Celtics,  the Cavs have said that they plan to stress defense this season. 

The Celtics have had a full week off since their last preseason game.  The Cavs last played on Friday.   The Celtics will have to be careful that they don't come out sluggish after having such a long time off since their last game.  The Celtics ended the preseason 6-2 while the Cavs finished 3-5.

The Celtics starters are set but the Cavs are still uncertain as to who will start at the 2 guard spot.  Right now, Pavlovic has the edge, but former Celtic, Delonte West is also being considered because of his toughness and quickness.    It is still unsure who will begin the season on the inactive list for the Celtics, but if I had to take a guess, it would be Patrick O'Bryant, J.R.Giddens, and Sam Cassell O'Bryant and Giddens saw their minutes go down as the preseason wore on and Sam never played in the preseason at all.

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:   Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams
SG:   Ray Allen vs Sasha Pavlovic  
SF:   Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
PF:   Kevin Garnett vs Ben Wallace
C:     Kendrick Perkins vs Zydrunas Ilgauskas
 
Injuries:
Celtics (NBA)
Paul Pierce (finger) will play
JR Giddens (hip)  probable, but will more than likely be inactive
 
Cavaliers (NBA)
Eric Snow (knee) out
Darnell Jackson (wrist) out
           Delonte West  (ankle)  probable
 

Matchups to Watch
[image] Vs [image]
The matchup between Paul Pierce and LeBron James is always an entertaining one. When they last met in the playoffs, it was Pierce coming out on top in a classic shootout. LeBron will be looking to even the score. These two have developed one of the better player rivalries in the league. 

[image] Vs [image]
The Cavs improved over the off season by bringing in Mo Williams to man the point. Throughout the playoffs, Rondo was able to take advantage of veteran point guards and out-play them and hopefully he will be able to pick up where he left off.   This is a classic matchup between an up and coming player and a wiley veteran. 

X Factor
The Celtics will be getting their rings and raising banner #17 to the rafters before the game.  This could go either way.  It could be a distraction for the Celtics and if they come out on an emotional high, may not concentrate on their games as they should.  On the other hand, it could fire them up to want to do it over again next season and they could come out on fire.   The Cavs could also realize that they came very close to going to the finals and it may be fired up to get a ring of their own. 
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