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The King and His Court Visit Boston

Cleveland Cavaliers (32-25) at Boston Celtics (43-12))
Wednesday, February 27
7:30 PM ET
Game #56, Home Game #28
Radio:  WEEI, Sirius 121
TD Banknorth Garden
Chat   l  Game Thread  

Cavs' Coverage     Cavalier Attitude   l    Cavaliers' Corner

The Celtics return home from their Western trip to face the new look Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Cavs have joined the club with 3 former Celtics on their roster as Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak join Dwayne Jones on their roster.  The first game at home after a tough road trip can be a trap game as teams tend to come out flat and hopefully the Celtics can avoid that in this game with so much on the line.   
The Celtics should have no problem getting up for this game since the Cavs are the reigning Eastern Conference champions and have made comments about the Celtics not being the team to beat in the East.  Also, the Cavs are one of only 3 teams to beat the Celtics twice this season.  The Cavs won twice in Cleveland (114-113 and 109-104 in OT) and lost once in Boston when they were without LeBron.  Another loss to them would give them the series and bragging rights as the only team to beat the Celtics 3 times this season.  It would also give the Cavs confidence should they meet in the playoffs. Also, the Pistons are breathing down the Celtics necks for the best record in the East and they need to keep that advantage.    The Celtics need to win this one.  
The Cavs are still working the new players into their system and so the Celtics may catch a break in that sense.  Also, the Cavs are playing in the second of back to back games and the Celtics had the night before off, even though they are coming off a tough road trip. Starting center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has given the Celtics problems in the past, sat out last night's game with an upper respiratory infection and will probably be a game time decision for tonight's game.     The Cavs are 15-15 on the road and 5-5 in their last 10 games. 

More After the Jump
Probable Starting Matchups
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West
SG:  Ray Allen vs Devin Brown
SF:  Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
PF:  Kevin Garnett vs Ben Wallace
C:    Kendrick Perkins vs Zydrunas Ilgauskas 
Celtics:   Brian Scalabrine, groin, day to day
Cavaliers     Daniel Gibson, ankle, day to day
                    Sasha Pavlovic  Foot,  out 
                    Zydrunas Ilgauska, respiratory infection, game time decision
Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West
This should be a good matchup.  Rondo started his career in Boston playing behind Delonte and will want to prove that he is the better point guard head to head.  As with all the players who get traded, Delonte will play  his best to show the Celtics they should have kept him (and with being a free agent this summer, maybe look at him again). 

Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
This is one of the best matchups in the league.  They have a history and often their matchups get quite heated.  They seem to bring out the best in each other. 

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Ben Wallace
Kendrick Perkins vs Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Wallace likes to play inside and Ilgauskas would rather play facing the basket.  Expect to see Perk on Wallace and KG on Ilgauskas.  Both should be good matchups with lots of physical play. 

Keys to the Game:
Team Play.  In their last two games out West, the Celtics got back to playing team ball on both ends of the court.   They have to make the extra pass and find the open man.  They can't get caught up in ISO's and trying to to too much individually. 

Defense. When the Celtics play the tough team defense they are capable of, they are tough to beat.  When they try to outscore teams and not play defense, they usually lose.  They need to remember that defense is what is going to get them a championship and keep playing it.  They have to defend the perimeter as well as inside since the Cavs have several very good 3 point shooters. 

Rebound.    The Celtics have been outrebounded in some of their recent games.  They  have to be aggressive on the boards and put the effort out to limit the Cavs second chance points.   

No Let Down When teams return home after road trips, they sometimes fall flat and face a let down.  The Celtics should have no problem getting up for the Cavs since they are the reigning Eastern conference champs and have beaten the Celtics twice already.  They have to come out strong and play 48 minutes. 
Fatigue vs Let Down  The Cavs lost a tough game last night in Milwaukee.  The Celtics had the night off, but there is always the danger of a let down after a long road trip.  Either fatigue or let down could be factors in this game. 

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