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

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Game 80: Cavs at Celtics

TD Garden
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio

1. The storyline today was who didn't play: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith. The backups that played weren't competitive in the least. Only center Timofey Mozgov started. The Cavaliers are 2-10 without James this season. There's a chance he could sit in the Detroit game on Monday, too. Then, he could play in the regular-season finale on Wednesday and try to maintain his rhythm heading into the postseason. The Cavaliers are obviously not the same team without James.

2. It's all about the big picture now. It's about getting primed for the playoffs. It's about entering the postseason on an optimum level. With the exception of a few nicks and bruises, they are in good health. There are a few things to keep one's eye on, such as James' knees and lower back, Love's back, Irving's hip and guard Iman Shumpert's strained quad. But none of the maladies would keep any of those players out of a postseason game.

3. The Celtics are holding onto the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. If they win their last two games, they'll be the Cavs' first-round opponent in the playoffs. They own the tie-breaker over No. 8 Brooklyn. For now, I'm operating under the premise that it will be the Cavs vs. the Celtics in the first round. The Cavs won't just roll over Boston. They are 1-4 vs. Boston in the playoffs all-time, including the devastating loss in 2010. There is a lot to like about the Celtics and that starts with Coach Brad Stevens. He is one of the league's bright, young coaches. If Mike Krzyzewski ever retires from Duke, rumor has it that the Blue Devils would knock on Stevens' door. That's the ultimate compliment.

4. Boston has won four in a row, including six of the last seven games. The Cavs have won 12 of their last 16 games, as well as 32 of their last 41.

5. The Cavs finished 22-19 on the road this season. It's tied for the third-best mark in franchise history with the 1991-92 team. It was surpassed only twice in their 45-year history: 27-14 in 2008-09 and 26-15 in 2009-10. That's impressive any way you look at it. It's normally a key indicator of a team that can do some serious damage in the postseason.

6. The Cavs shot a brick-like 3 of 22 from behind the arc on Sunday. There were very few superlatives from today's game. They didn't play well in any phase. They turned the ball over so many times - a season-high 25 times - it didn't give them a chance to win.

7. They have made a franchise-best 793 3-pointers this season. If they make seven more, they'll become the 11th team in NBA history with 800 or more 3s in a season.

UP NEXT: vs. Detroit, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Monday

SF Shawn Marion (6-7, 228) vs. Evan Turner (6-7, 205)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-10, 238) vs. Brandon Bass (6-8, 250)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250)
SG Iman Shumpert (6-5, 220) vs. Avery Bradley (6-2, 205)
PG Matthew Dellavedova (6-4, 200) vs. Marcus Smart (6-4, 220)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, F Kevin Love
Celtics - G Chris Babb, G/F James Young
Bill Kennedy, JT Orr, James Williams


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