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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Game 29: Cavs at Celtics

TD Garden
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: Playing in their first game without center Andrew Bynum, the Cavs came up short against the Celtics.

Bynum was suspended a few hours before the game for conduct detrimental to the team. It could very well be his last game with the team.

It came to a head on Friday, but it wasn't announced until Saturday. He didn't fly to Boston with the Cavs. The team sat on the news overnight. 

Bynum wasn't on the practice court on Friday when the media was allowed onto Cleveland Clinic Courts, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. He often started his off-the-court work by then.

If you don't ask about a certain player specifically, the media won't be told about things. If someone had asked about Bynum, maybe the news would have broke Friday. Who knows?

Anderson Varejao moved back into the starting lineup at center. He didn't do anything extraordinary on Saturday with six points and eight rebounds. Tyler Zeller has moved into the backup center spot. He had a season-high 10 rebounds.

I'm assuming this is the last we'll see Bynum. No one is talking, but that's the feeling I'm getting.

The Celtics haven't played since last Sunday, Dec. 22, at Indiana. They jumped out to a 22-point lead vs. the Cavs. However, the Cavs outscored them, 34-18, in the fourth quarter to narrow their deficit to two points.

A big block by Brandon Bass on Dion Waiters' drive to the basket prevented the Cavs from tying the game late. Earl Clark didn't get a 3 off in time at the buzzer.

The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak.

They've now beaten the Cavs twice this year. They also won on Nov. 29 at TD Garden, 103-86.

Many of the players hated the start time. It threw their routine out of whack. They'd rather play at 7 p.m. There could be some sluggish players at least for the start of the game.

Cavs coach Mike Brown has tinkered with the starting lineup once again. He's inserted Clark at small forward. Alonzo Gee has been dispatched to the bench and has not seen any action in the last two games. Clark is bigger and offers more from an offensive standpoint. Clark had 12 points and three rebounds against the Celtics.

Clark was supposed to be an upgrade at small forward. The Cavs are going to have to do better than that. He's a journeyman, nothing more.

One thing he does do is shoot 3s, something that Gee was unable to do with any consistency.

Brown is now playing Anthony Bennett at power forward again. He's getting minutes at both forward spots. It could be one reason why he struggles so much. He's been forced to play both forward spots. He wasn't bad on Saturday with five points and five rebounds.

The Celtics are hanging onto the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Coach Brad Stevens has done a nice job with this unit.

The Cavs have now lost four in a row overall. They are 2-13 on the road and have lost seven of their last eight.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Golden State at 6 p.m. Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Earl Clark (6-10, 225) vs. Jeff Green (6-9, 235)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Brandon Bass (6-8, 250)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 267) vs. Jared Sullinger (6-9, 280)
SG C.J. Miles (6-6, 231) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 180)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Jordan Crawford (6-4, 195)
Cavs - G/F Sergey Karasev, C Andrew Bynum
Celtics - G Rajon Rondo
Sean Corbin, David Guthrie, Karl Lane


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