Game 43: Celtics at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Celtics have now lost four in a row. In Cleveland, that's treated with a ho-hum attitude. In Beantown, it's a major catastrophe. Call in the National Guard!
The Cavs, despite playing a bit short-handed, looked like a world-beater on Tuesday. That happens when point guard Kyrie Irving plays out of his mind. He had 40 points, one off his career high, and just destroyed the Celtics.
Celtics guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are both outstanding defenders. We're talking All-Defensive team candidates. But they were no match for Irving on this night.
In the fourth quarter, he just took over. As Boston coach Doc Rivers said, that's when "Kyrie Irving happened." He's right, too. He was that good. It wasn't jump shots, either. He attacked the basket. Either he made a layup or shot free throws.
The Cavs found out on Monday that center Anderson Varejao would miss the rest of the season after getting a blood clot. That was terrible news.
That means rookie center Tyler Zeller will start the rest of the season. He's been very inconsistent this season, including against the Celtics on Tuesday. He made just 2 of 10 shots and fouled out. He ended with six points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
The problem is, there were no bigs sitting on the bench. Marreese Speights was en route to Cleveland and hadn't passed his physical yet, so he wasn't available to play.
With Tristan Thompson - he's oozing with confidence, Coach Byron Scott said - Zeller and Speights, the Cavs will have a decent big-man rotation. Finally.
Zeller's matchup with Kevin Garnett was not a pretty sight. But Zeller did compete, and that's all you can ask right now. He was perfectly suited as the third big, the first big man off the bench. Now, it times he's overmatched in the starting lineup. It will make him a better player.
Garnett loves trying to get into the head of young players like Zeller. My suggestion pre-game was if Garnett mentions any breakfast cereals, don't listen!
The Cavs made a big trade earlier in the day. Here's a link to the deal.
LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Utah on Saturday, 109-98.
UP NEXT: The Cavs host Milwaukee at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Paul Pierce (6-7, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Brandon Bass (6-8, 250)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Kevin Garnett (6-11, 253)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 180)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Rajon Rondo (6-1, 186)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, F/C Marreese Speights, G Wayne Ellington, G Josh Selby
Celtics - C Fab Melo
Tom Washington, Courtney Kirkland, Kevin Scott