The victor of Wednesday's game takes a one-game lead in the race for first place in the East, but that isn't an assurance they'll coast into the postseason with the top seed in tow. Both teams enter the game 50-27 and the victor assumes control of their own destiny for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Five players are averaging at least 10.6 points per game for Boston, they are: Thomas (29.1), Avery Bradley (16.6), Al Horford (14.1), Jae Crowder (13.7) and Marcus Smart (10.6). "Plus, we got on a run. We're great at home".
Despite the stakes being higher than ever, Celtics superstar Isiah Thomas perceives the game as just another regular season encounter. Even if the Cavaliers assume they can just flip the switch when the playoffs begin, there's no guarantee they'll be able to do so. Thomas said he's above valuing one regular-season game over another ("being No. 1 in the standings, you don't feel different [about any one game]", he said), but knows the Cavaliers still count as the top dog. Channing Frye should get additional minutes, but otherwise the Cavaliers could be forced to go with a smaller lineup much more often than expected. Since many games these days are right around 100 possessions, that means playing the Cavs on the back end has been almost a guaranteed blowout for the home team.
Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are going to sit out this game as Coach Steve Kerr is resting them. The guys know that. They had little rhythm for 24 minutes against Orlando and trailed, 55-53, at halftime.
The answer to this issue is in part predicated on how he recovers from another knee surgery, his third "clean up" surgery he's had (he's had four total knee surgeries, spread two on each knee). That triggers their championship-level ball movement. Had he not missed four layups, No. 0 could've finished with 36, but we won't hold that against him.More news: Westbrook gets 41st triple-double
Sometimes the Cavs have the rhythm of Fred Astaire. I think they can. If the Celtics win on Wednesday and knot the season series at two games apiece, the next playoff tiebreaker would be conference record. Though their recent defensive struggles are real, they have history - and, more importantly, LeBron - on their side. Following the game, Love had a conversation with James Jones where he expressed this was how the Cavs are supposed to play.
Finishing second to Boston in the East should not cause panic in Cavalier Nation. "All the talking heads will be like, the Cavs are back or Boston".
However, any advantage that the Celtics can get is going to be critical, considering that LeBron James has already been to the last six NBA Finals as a member of both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.
There are no back-to-back games in the playoffs. I'm the last person to ask about a regular-season game, dude. They play in Atlanta on April 9 and in Miami the next night.
For more on the matchup, see the charts below.