The Celtics and Cavaliers may not have played a game at full-strength yet, but their matchup Wednesday still captivated the basketball world. ESPN’s says Boston’s 102-88 win over Cleveland was its highest-rated regular season game since April 13, 2016, per Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch. The Warriors set the single-season wins record in that contest.
There’s lots of drama between the two teams, leading with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James’ relationship. Hall of Fame basketball writer Jackie MacMullan published a feature story Wednesday that shed additional light on their split. Irving says he thinks James wanted him out –– the Cavaliers orchestrated a three-way trade involving Irving earlier in the summer –– which precipitated him to ask for a trade. James denies Irving’s claims, telling MacMullan they make “absolutely no sense.”
Locally, the bulk of the attention recently has been placed on Isaiah Thomas, who returned from injury Tuesday. Though Thomas wasn’t in the lineup, there was still lingering controversy over his apparent animosity towards the Celtics. Earlier in the season, Thomas said he may never speak with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge again after the trade that sent him to Cleveland.
While Thomas said he’s back on good terms with Ainge, he requested the Celtics delay his tribute video, because he wasn’t slated to play. The video is now expected to air next time the Cavaliers visit on Feb. 11, which is also when the Celtics will retire Paul Pierce’s number
It appears as if the Celtics and Cavaliers will have a chance to meet again in the Eastern Conference Finals. But this time, there will be plenty of subplots, which have already managed to capture basketball fans around the country.
Full article @ Celtics-Cavaliers deliver highest-rated regular season game on ESPN in more than one year
Source: GreenStreet Blog