Gameday Dish: Celtics Host Cavs at the Garden

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The Celtics know if they want to get back to the NBA Finals they are eventually going to have to get through LeBron and the Cavs. Tonight they will have a chance to prove that they are still contenders. Boston will face the top team in the league for the second time this season in front of a sellout crowd at the Garden. Hardy Celtics fans are likely as eager to watch the LeBron and Shaq show as they are to watch their team get a much needed win and prove they’ve still got what it takes to contend for a title.

Third in the East, Boston has lost recent games against some of the better teams in the league including Denver, Orlando and Atlanta. They beat the Lakers, but without Kobe. They need a win against a marquee team. A victory over the Cavs would be huge and their recent track record bodes well for their chances tonight. The Celtics have prevailed in five straight regular season games against Cleveland – including an impressive, opening night road-win at the intimidating Q.

However the Celtics have also struggled at home recently, particularly in the second half of games. And they will be shorthanded – Paul Pierce is sidelined with a thumb injury and Marquis Daniels is questionable with the flu. Ray Allen will need to be in good form – which will be an important factor for the Celtics in the playoffs as well.

The Cavs look to even the season series and get the green monkey off their back, having lost nine straight visits to the Garden. More importantly they need to regain form prior to their Jamison acquisition and figure out how best to integrate him into their rotation. The Cavaliers are also competing with the Lakers for the overall best record and home court advantage in the playoffs.

NBA on TNT presents national coverage of the Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics at 8 p.m. ET.

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