Celtics-Cavaliers review: What we saw

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Celtics-Cavaliers review: What we saw

BOSTON For most of the night, the Boston Celtics did all that they were supposed to do in order to win. The turnovers weren't alarmingly high. They shot pretty good from the field. And the rebounding margin was relatively close. The final five minutes arrived, and all hell broke lose as the Cleveland Cavaliers closed out Sunday's game with a 12-0 run and rallied past the C's for an 88-87 win. Let's take a look back at some of the keys before the game, and how those factors actually played out.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Lately, the Celtics have been saving their best for the second half of games. During their four-game winning streak, opponents are only scoring 35.5 points against them in the second half. For the Cavs, scoring in the second half has not been a problem. In their last four games - three of which they lost - the Cavs have averaged 51.3 points scored in the second half which is actually higher than their 48.9 points per game average in the second half this season which ranks among the league's best scoring teams. Still, with a scoring defense ranked 24th (out of 30 teams) in the NBA, all those second-half points have been just enough for them to remain competitive.
WHAT WE SAW: The Cavaliers have been one of the NBA's best teams when it comes to scoring in the second half, as they came into Sunday's game ranked seventh and sixth in third and fourth quarter scoring, respectively. While the 44 points scored by Boston was below their season average for second-half scoring, it was almost 10 points more than what the teams Boston beat during its four-game winning streak had tallied in the second half. And making matters worse, Cleveland's best scoring quarter was the fourth when they scored 26 points. "The defense just didn't step up," said Paul Pierce.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs Anderson Varejao: This is a good matchup between a couple of power forwards now being asked to play some center. Garnett has been a solid scoring option for the Celtics, but he has really been impressive in defending Dwight Howard and Indiana's Roy Hibbert. Varejao has been a key to the Cavs being better than expected. He has nine double-doubles this season, and he's averaging 9.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett wasn't bad, scoring 14 points to go with seven rebounds. But there was no doubt that Varejao was better. He had 18 points and nine rebounds, doing most of his damage by simply out-working the Celtics at both ends of the floor. Kyrie Irving's game-winning basket would have never happened if it wasn't for Varejao's hustle which forced a Brandon Bass turnover with about 22 seconds to play. "It's what I try to do every night: get the second chance and stuff like that." Added Cavs coach Byron Scott: "So it's just Andy being Andy. Pure hustle, determination and was able to go after a guy to have one more possession."
PLAYER TO WATCH: The play of Antawn Jamison, maybe more than any other player on the floor tonight, will dictate the game's outcome. In Cleveland's seven wins, he's averaging 19.5 points while shooting 50.4 percent from the field. In their 11 losses, he's down to 12.5 points while connecting on just 34 percent of his shots.

WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics did a nice job of not allowing Jamison to ever get into any kind of flow or rhythm all night. He had 10 points, but missed 10 of his 13 shots from the field in addition to committing a couple of turnovers.

STAT TO TRACK: One of the keys to Boston's run of late has been their ability to make teams look for more one-on-one action, as opposed to getting the entire team involved. The C's are allowing teams an NBA-low 15.9 assists per game this season. Being able to continue disrupting the flow of opposing team's offenses, which is a big factor in the Celtics allowing so few assists, will once again play a role in their ability to win.

WHAT WE SAW: Again, this is another area in which the Celtics got exactly what they wanted. The Cavaliers were indeed in one-on-one mood for a number of stretches on Sunday, which limited their effectiveness in terms of ball movement. But the C's limiting the Cavaliers in assist, could not make up for the costly turnovers and missed shots by Boston over the final 4:25 of play in which the Cavaliers outscored the C's, 12-0.

Report: Changes coming to Bruins' uniforms?

Report: Changes coming to Bruins' uniforms?

The assumption was that some NHL jerseys and logos were going to get tweaked when Adidas takes over for Reebok as the manufacturer of the game sweaters and it looks like the Black and Gold of the Bruins will be getting some alterations. 

According to a report on Sportslogos.net, the Bruins are one of 13 NHL teams, including the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, that will have some changes made to the jerseys they wear.

There’s no indication as to how sweeping the changes will be and it’s doubtful something as heinous as the 1990’s Pooh Bear jerseys will be entered into the B’s mix. The last major changes for the Bruins came when Reebok first took over in 2007-08 and some slight alterations were made to the B’s logo, but the Bruins have also switched around their third alternate jerseys several times over the past decade.

The personal favorite at this address is the gold Winter Classic jerseys the Bruins donned on Jan. 1, 2010 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. Something like that could be a pretty interesting look as a home alternate jersey for special occasions at TD Garden, but the expectation at this address is the Bruins will keep it simple with something in black that’s not too distant from their 2016 Winter Classic jerseys that have become their alternate third jerseys.

The speculation on the blog was that the Bruins sweater alterations will be something along the lines of a “font change for the names or numbers” on the jerseys, and that’s something that wouldn’t qualify as a significant deviation from the classically popular Bruins game sweaters. In other words, the Bruins and Adidas shouldn’t be messing with something that isn’t broken with the Black and Gold, or with their fan base that still wears old school Andy Moog and Ray Bourque Bruins sweaters to home games on a regular basis. 

 

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
 
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
 
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
 
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
 
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
 
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
 
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
 
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
 
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.