Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics Preview and Pick – 2008 Opening Day

Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0) +6.5 1.91 at Boston Celtics (0-0) O/U 179.5 8 pm Eastern Tuesday October 28, 2008 on TNT
By Jason Green of

Let the NBA regular season begin!!!

The Boston Celtics (-6.5) will open their season hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they begin their long quest to repeat as NBA champs. This is the tip-off game for both teams, who both have high expectations this year. Beantown will be abuzz with excitement, as before the game the Celtics will raise their 17th NBA championship banner.

Boston comes into this season after beating the L.A. Lakers in 6 games to win the title, while the Cavaliers lost to the Celtics in 7 games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In the first 2 games of the semifinals James was laying bricks, going 8/42 from the field in the first 2 games. The teams would trade home victories until the epic game 7 duel between James (45 points) and Paul Pierce (41 points), which the Celtics would eventually win 97-92 propelling them into the Eastern Conference finals against the Detroit Pistons.

Last season the Celtics ranked 11th in the NBA in points per game (100.5) and the Cavs ranked 24th (96.4) even though they have LeBron James, who led the NBA in scoring last season (30 ppg). Cleveland was a better rebounding team last year, but the Celtics did not have to hit the glass as much because their field goal percentage was much better (47.5% to 43.86%). The Celtics also had a higher FG% than the Cavs on their 3-point bombs (38% to 36%) and shot better from the charity stripe (77.07% to 71.66%).

Basketball bookies are listing the Celtics at 6.5 point favorites with a total around 180. Boston is also posted at around -110 on various Vegas moneylines, with the Cavs getting +250 as road dogs.

Last year the Celtics had the best record in the NBA going 66-12 and were 52-28-2 ATS, while the Cavs were 45-37 and 37-45-0 ATS. The Celtics also had the best home record last year going 35-6at Banknorth Garden while the Cavs were not the best road team, by any means, going 18-23 last season.


At the end of last season the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranked Boston #1 at 98.68 and Cleveland 13th at 91.87 and vs. the top 10 teams in the league the Celtics were 22-10 and the Cavs were only 12-21.

On the injury front SG Delonte West from Cleveland is listed as day-to-day while the Celtics start the season fully healthy.

The Cavs come into this season with high hopes after they finally picked up a 2nd scorer to help LeBron out. Mo Williams (17.7 ppg) should help lighten the load of the scoring, as last year King James had to do it all last year and came up just short in game 7 against the Celtics last year. The Celtics are, pretty much, the same team that win it all last year, but super 6th man James Posey bolted to the Big Easy to join the Hornets.

The Big 3 of the Celtics finally won some hardware and will they be hungry this season? Hell yeah, as off-season reports had Garnett yelling in practices and in the weight room ready for the regular season to begin.

King James always seems to play better in big games against the best teams, well minus the first 2 games at Boston in last year’s playoffs, and the opening game of the NBA season on national TV against the defending champion Celtics tonight does not get any bigger.

A key match up in this game will be the Celtics C Kendrick Perkins against Cavs C Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Perkins came up huge in the playoffs last year and if he can score some buckets tonight down low it will open things up for Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to work their magic from the outside. The Cavs have to contend with a Celtics D, which was the best in the NBA last season, allowing opponents to shoot an NBA-low 41.9 percent. Nobody can contain King James, but if Mo Williams can step up and give the Cavs the 2nd scorer they have sorely needed the last few years the Celtics will have their hands full tonight. Also, the Cavs will have problems matching up with Kevin Garnett, with his size and ability to score inside and out.

Jason’s Pick: Take the Cavs and the points!