Both Jayson Tatum and Al Horford will sit out of Monday night’s game between the two Eastern Conference contenders.
Boston has ruled out MVP candidate Jayson Tatum (knee) and Al Horford (back) for tonight’s game against #Cavs. That’s in addition to Robert Williams III, who was already out with a hamstring injury. Certainly takes some juice out of the matchup.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) March 6, 2023
While it’s unfortunate for fans who were hoping to see the highest level of competition on the court, the news certainly bodes well for the Cavs’ chances of winning the game. The Cavs are currently the No. 4 seed in the East, but they have just a one-game lead for the spot over the surging New York Knicks.
The Cavs definitely want to keep pace in order to earn home-court advantage in at least the first round of the 2023 playoffs. The Cavs are 9-4 since the beginning of February, although they’ve lost four of their last six games.
In the coming slate of games, the Cavs have a great chance to really establish themselves in the East heading into the final stretch of the regular season. All of their next nine games will come against Eastern Conference opponents, many of whom are right in the playoff — or play-in tournament — hunt.
Though the Celtics will deal with some absences on Monday, the Cavs are luckily quite healthy. Donovan Mitchell is listed as questionable for the game with a finger injury, but it seems like he has a solid chance at playing. Of course, Mitchell has been transcendent for the Cavs all season long. He’s putting up 27.4 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
It will be interesting to see how the Celtics approach things offensively without Tatum. Jaylen Brown is sure to slide in as the primary offensive focal point. However, with him operating as the sole elite scorer on the court for Boston, the Cavs’ defensive wall of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley will likely be able to wreak havoc near the rim.
The Celtics may be fatigued after their marathon battle against the Knicks on Sunday. The Cavs will look to take advantage.