Game 79: Celtics at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavaliers had a decent chance of winning tonight's game, but they kept thinking about the big picture. In this case, it's all about getting proper rest for the start of the playoffs. Coach David Blatt yanked all his starters for the fourth quarter and went with his reserves. They had helped the Cavs make up a 16-point deficit in the third quarter and take their first lead in the game. But it wasn't to be. The Celtics grabbed a two-point lead after the third quarter, 79-77, and never trailed in the fourth.
2. Boston has moved up to the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They have the same record as No. 8 Brooklyn, but win the tie-breaker with the Nets. If they win their last three games, they'll get rewarded with the Cavs in the first round of the playoffs. That would be an intriguing first-round series, and one the Cavs would probably win in five games. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here.
3. LeBron James said after the game he probably won't play in Boston on Sunday. He said recently that he usually takes a couple games off before the playoffs. So, he could also sit out another one (Monday vs. Detroit?). I'd play him in the Washington game in the regular-season finale next Wednesday, just so he can keep him rhythm heading into the postseason. The last thing you want to do is interrupt their rhythm heading into the playoffs. That would be detrimental.
4. Despite the loss, they've still won 12 of their last 15 games, as well as 32 of their last 40.
5. The Cavaliers now have the top two scorers in the East in James (third overall at 25.5 points per game) and Irving (ninth at 22).
6. The Cavaliers are now 18-1 in their last 19 games at The Q. Just one of the 19 foes have scored 100 or more points.
7. Toronto and Chicago have the identical record with three games remaining for the No. 3 playoff seed. However, the Bulls have to finish one game ahead of the Toronto since the Raptors win the tie-breaker. That's pretty important for the Cavs. If the Raptors earn the third seed, that will make the Cavs' road to the NBA Finals a bit easier, in my opinion. The Raptors are a quality team, but they aren't playoff-tested like the Bulls. Whichever team earns the third seed will be favored to win its first-round series. It would then be on the Cavs' side of the bracket for the East playoffs.
8. The Cavaliers dished out 25 assists. It was the 22nd time they have recorded 25 or more assists in a game this season.
9. Tristan Thompson grabbed 12 rebounds. He's averaged 10.8 rebounds in his last four games. He continues to impress.
10. Celtics swingman Evan Turner dished out a career-high 13 assists. The former Ohio State star added six rebounds and four points.
UP NEXT: at Boston, TD Garden, 3 p.m. Sunday
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Evan Turner (6-7, 205)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 205)
Celtics - G Chris Babb, G/F James Young
Bill Spooner, Justin Van Duyne, Gary Zielinski