Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo return to the squad following the All-Star break as the Boston Celtics (15-17) look for a fresh start in Ohio as they face Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-18) at 7 p.m. Tuesday (CSNNE/WEEI).
Let bygones be bygones. The way the Boston Celtics started the 2011-12 season was less than memorable, but there's nothing they can do about it now. Nothing, except put it in the past and focus on the remaining games on their schedule.
That starts with a battle in Ohio on Tuesday night, when the Celts face rookie sensation Kyrie Irving and the improving but still rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. EDT at Quicken Loans Arena (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).
Boston (15-17) is in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Cleveland, however, has been trending towards the other direction, having won three of its last five and five of 11 games in the month of February. It's not exactly a winning environment at the Q, but it's a major improvement from a season ago in the club's first season post LeBron James.
Prior to the All-Star break, the Celtics dropped a high-scoring affair against the Oklahoma City Thunder, losing 119-104 in a game that was a lot closer than the score indicated. After trailing by 27 points in the third quarter, the C's -- who were without Rajon Rondo, Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox and Brandon Bass -- pulled within six in the fourth.
Kevin Garnett returned to action after missing two games due to personal matters and finished with a team-leading 23 points and 13 rebounds. Paul Pierce had 23 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who shot 48.6 percent in defeat.
Cleveland lost a close one to the New Orleans Hornets, 89-84, in its first-half finale last Wednesday. Antawn Jamison had a vintage performance, pouring in 22 points while snagging 12 boards. Irving only had six points but dished out 11 assists and Alonzo Gee totaled 13 points and five boards. Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.