Found February 28, 2012 on Waiting For Next Year:
Kyrie Irving has already knocked off the Celtics once this season The Cleveland Cavaliers (13-18, 9th in the East) get back to business Tuesday night when they welcome the Boston Celtics (15-17, 8th in the East) into the Q. It was a pretty good All Star break for Cleveland. Sure, Kyrie Irving didn’t fare so well in the Skills Competition, but Irving and fellow rookie Tristan Thompson both left their marks in the Rising Stars Game. For the rest of the Cavaliers it was a period of rest, relaxation, and rooting on the young Cavaliers in the Rising Stars Game. Now that the batteries have been charged and some wounds have healed, the Cavaliers can get back to chasing that playoff berth. The Celtics are the team standing in their way, both tonight (as the opponent) and in the long run (as the 8th seed). Perhaps no team was happier for the break than the Celtics, who carried a 5 game losing streak into the break and had lost 7 of their last 8 overall. For the Celtics, the problem is definitely not defense. Even in this 8 game stretch where they are 1-7, the Celtics still are only giving up an average of 94.5 points per game and have only given up 100+ points once. In fact, the Celtics have only given up 100+ points three times all season, in the first 2 games and their last game. The Celtics problem has been scoring. The “big 3” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen have all seen their scoring and FG% drop this season. Rajon Rondo has tried to pick up the slack, increasing his scoring by 4 pts per game and increasing his FG% by 10%. But it clearly hasn’t been enough. The team is 26th in points per game, 25th in offensive efficiency, 29th in offensive TOV%, and dead last in ORB%. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers were not playing great basketball by any means. One point wins over Sacramento and Detroit followed by an embarrassing effort against the Hornets saw the Cavaliers go into the break struggling to find their stride and pace. However, they do get one step closer to full health as Anthony Parker finally returns from his back injury. Parker will join Kyrie Irving, Omri Casspi, Antawn Jamison, and Semih Erden in the starting lineup. I know, most people will say ‘so what?’ about Parker returning. There’s no doubt AP was struggling with his shot this season (welcome to the club), but I felt AP was playing some of the best defense we’ve ever seen from him in Cleveland. The numbers seem to testify to that fact. Last season opposing SGs had a PER of 16.8 against Parker and this year they have a PER of 13.8 against him. Last year opposing teams averaged 1.11 points per possession when Parker was on the floor and that number is 1.08 points per possession this season. Not mind blowing drops by any mean, but enough to show that Parker was indeed playing better defense this year. The Cavaliers rank 27th in opponents’ 1st quarter points per game, giving up 25.8 points per game in the 1st quarter. Hopefully having Parker back and the rest of the Cavaliers having a bit of a break will help them get off to a better start defensively, especially against this Boston offense. In the win against Boston earlier this season, the Cavaliers controlled the offensive glass and forced the Celtics into 16 turnovers. Not having Anderson Varejao will hurt, but the Cavaliers simply must control the glass again. It’s the one area the Cavaliers have a true advantage over the Celtics. Rajon Rondo missed that game with an injury. He will be playing tonight, back from a suspension for throwing the ball at an official. The Irving-Rondo matchup is really going to set the tone in this one. Whichever PG gets the upper hand will probably see his team in good shape to win. The Celtics may be old, they may be playing pretty poorly as of late, but this is still the Boston Celtics. It’s still the original “Big 3”. The Cavaliers should have confidence knowing how tough they played Boston both previous occasions, but a win over Boston isn’t happening unless the Cavaliers give a more focused effort than they’ve shown in their last several games. This game officially kicks off the Cavaliers’ playoff chase and how they fare in this game could very well set the tone for the rest of the season. _____ Image Source: Steve Babineau/NBAE/GettyImages
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving is the clear cut choice for Rookie of the Year

Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving had to be one of the more “meh” choices as the top pick in the past draft. He only played in 11 games while at Duke. While his sample size is minuscule, the world of basketball knew his potential. In a draft that had quite a few sprinklings of stardom in the second round, Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving was more or less the...

Irving son is like father at MSG

The man who taught Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving to explore all angles of the game sat courtside at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night. His father, Drederick, a bond analyst for Thomson Reuters, arrived in his courtside seat as the house lights went down and the Knicks were announced.

Kyrie Irving can't save the Cleveland Cavaliers in 86-83 loss to Celtics

Irving led the Cavaliers with 24 points, but Cleveland couldn't make important shots in the final minutes of the loss

Kyrie Irving putting fun weekend behind to renew Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff push: All-Star Insider

The Cavaliers (13-18) host Boston on Tuesday and travel to New York the following night in critical games against opponents immediately ahead of them in the standings.

Cavs star weighing Olympic options

NBA rookie-of-the-year candidate Kyrie Irving said he will announce next week whether he intends to play for Australia at this summer's London Olympics. The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard was born in Melbourne in March 1992 while his father, Drederick Irving, was playing professionally in the country with the Bulleen Boomers. Irving, 19, moved to New York at the age of two...

Irving and Rondo: Which Point Guard Was the All-Star?

With 3.5 seconds remaining on the game clock and his team clinging to the smallest of margins, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo found himself on the bench. With more personal fouls than points attached to his name, Rondo joined the likes of Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic — mentally hand-in-hand — to watch the final ticks unfold. Their teammate Ray Allen would extend...

Cavaliers Head to NY to Face Jeremy Lin and the Surging Knicks

Cavaliers hope to beat NY again, as they did in January Let’s be honest, this is the matchup everyone’s been waiting for, right? Kyrie Irving vs the PG who puts the Lin in Linsanity. That’s right, the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-19, 10th in the East) travel to “basketball mecca” to take on the Jeremy Lin and the New York Knickerbockers (17-18, 7th in the East). The Cavaliers...

While We’re Waiting… Replacing Sizemore, Measuring Kyrie and honoring the fans

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. On replacing Sizemore- “Certainly, it could be argued that they should have done more in terms of insurance policies for the eventual Sizemore injury (and I did make that...

Cavaliers lose lead in 4th, fall to Celtics by 3

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Ray Allen scored 22 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and the Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 86-83 on Tuesday night to snap a five-game losing streak. Boston, which couldn't hold a 16-point lead in the first quarter, avoided its first six-game skid since dropping seven in a row from April 4-15, 2007. Kyrie Irving returned from a bruised elbow that...

Celtics 86, Cavaliers 83

Ray Allen scored 22 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and the Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 86-83 on Tuesday night to snap a five-game losing streak. Boston, which couldn't hold a 16-point lead in the first quarter, avoided its first six-game skid since dropping seven in a row from April 4-15, 2007. Kyrie Irving returned from a bruised elbow that sidelined him late...

Celtics 86, Cavaliers 83: Thoughts and musings after an important, albeit ugly, win

A 16-point Boston Celtics lead had been washed away by a tsunami of turnovers and missed shots, the type of devastating wave that now seems to haunt them for long stretches during every game.Kyrie Irving was dominating. The sight of Anderson Varejao brought me nightmares, even if the Brazilian’s injury kept him from grabbing 45 offensive rebounds on this night. Paul Pierce couldn’t...

Box Score: Celtics 86 Cavaliers 83

Tough loss. The Cavaliers fell behind early as their first quarter defense continues to plague them. But true to their nature, the Cavaliers fought back and took a lead into the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, the Cavs made too many mental errors down the stretch and the Celtics capitalized. The Cavaliers had a chance, down 3 with 3 seconds left. On a nice inbound play the Cavaliers...

Celtics try to get back in the mix

CLEVELAND - The Celtics were in the midst of their best stretch of the season - nine wins in 10 games - when they split back-to-back matchups with the Cavaliers late last month. In both contests - an 88-87 home loss and 93-90 away win - the Celtics played without Rajon Rondo and struggled to match up with rookie guard Kyrie Irving.
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.