Celtics at Cavaliers Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/22/2013
The NBA’s trade deadline is one month from Monday. And it appears both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers could be active before that date.
At 10-32 entering this game, the Cavaliers clearly aren’t going anywhere this season and are looking at another Top-5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Cavs have some young talent in recent first-round picks Kyrie Irving (a future superstar), Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller. There are even reports the LeBron James might be interested in returning to Cleveland after next season when he can leave Miami.
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However, Cleveland’s top trade piece now for sure won’t be going anywhere. That would be power forward Anderson Varejao. He was the NBA’s leading rebounder and a likely all-star before tearing a leg muscle on Dec. 18. He had surgery back on Jan. 10, and it was thought he might be able to return right around the trade deadline. However, Varejao developed a blood clot in his lung following that surgery and has now been ruled out for the season. A team might have taken a shot on Varejao before the clot, but now there’s no way. He would have brought back a decent haul. Varejao is signed at $9.1 million for 2013-14 and has a team option at $9.8 million in 2014-15. Cleveland could very well deal guard Daniel Gibson and forward Omri Casspi for picks or cap space; the latter already has requested a trade.
As for Boston, the Celtics just can’t seem to get things going at 20-20. Reports are that Danny Ainge is itching to make a move or two, whether that’s blowing up the veteran team and starting over with a youth movement -- Ainge would love to deal Paul Pierce, but Rajon Rondo is the guy who would bring the most -- or trying to add one more piece for a final title run. Boston hasn’t given any indication yet that it is a realistic championship contender. The C’s are +1500 to win the East on Sportsbook.ag and +3000 to win it all.
Celtics at Cavaliers Betting Story Lines
Cleveland has lost four of five and nine of 12. It last took the floor Saturday in Utah, losing 109-98 to the Jazz. Irving had 18 points with nine assists for Cleveland, but shot just 7-of-20 from the field. Irving has scored 1,661 career points, the seventh-most among current NBA players in their first 82 career games. Irving ripped into his team a bit following the loss, saying it played “soft” at times against Utah. The Cavs are now 1-20 this season when trailing at halftime and 0-13 when shooting a lower field goal percentage than their opponent. This is Cleveland’s first home game off a five-game West Coast trip.
Meanwhile, things are also getting chippy in Boston. The Celtics had won six straight to reach a high-water mark of three games over .500. But since then, Boston has lost three straight to drop back to even. The team was totally flat in Sunday’s 103-88 defeat in Detroit, a team that had just returned from Europe. Boston was down by 18 by the second quarter and never led. Rondo nearly had an unwanted quadruple double with eight points, 15 assists, nine rebounds and nine turnovers. Celtics coach Doc Rivers sent a message in the press afterward and threatened to make major changes soon.
"I think this team wants everything easy," Rivers said to the media. "They want the easy way out. They want to win easy. And I told them the only way you're going to win easy is you're going to have to play hard. The harder you play, the easier the games become. We're taking the wrong approach. I've got to either find the right combination, the right guys, or we're going to get some guys out of here. It's the bottom line. Because this group right now, they are not playing right.”
It appeared the Celtics got a jump start with the return of guard Avery Bradley as the team won six of its first seven games when he made his season debut off shoulder surgery. But he has been dealing with a rib injury and hasn’t been much of a factor in the three-game losing streak, including missing Friday night’s home loss to New Orleans when Hornets guard Austin Rivers got the best of his father Doc. The Celtic defense has been much better with Bradley. In the first 30 games he missed, the team allowed an average of 98.1 points per game. No team had scored more than 96 since Bradley returned before the Pistons on Sunday.
The Celtics won the first meeting of the season, 103-91 at home on Dec. 19 (Boston was -9 with a total of 191). Pierce was unstoppable with a season-high 40 points on 81.3 percent from the field (13-of-16). It was his highest shooting percentage in a game since Dec. 1, 2010, and made the 35-year-old the oldest Celtics player to score at least 40 in a regular-season game. Boston shot 59.7 percent from the field overall. Irving led the Cavs with 22 points. It was the game after Varejao hurt his leg against Toronto.
Celtics at Cavaliers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Boston is 1-5 ATS in its past six games after a loss. The Celtics are 0-4-1 ATS in their past five games vs. a team with a losing record. Cleveland is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 Tuesday games. The Cavs are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games following a road trip of seven or more days. The under is 5-1 in Boston’s past six road games vs. a team with a losing home record. The over is 4-1 in Cleveland’s past five vs. Eastern Conference teams. The home team has covered four of the past five meetings.
Celtics at Cavaliers Picks and Betting Predictions
I don’t have much doubt Boston wins this game. The C’s have won three straight overall in the series and three in a row in Cleveland. The Cavs are just 4-12 at home this year. Here’s guessing that Doc Rivers’ little diatribe brings out the best in Boston. Give the points and take the under.
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