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PREVIEW: New-look Cavs battle Irving, Celtics in Sunday matinee

2. Strength on strength

The Cavs rank fifth in the NBA in offensive rating (112.55), while the Celtics rank first in the NBA in defensive rating (103.25). In the previous matchup, Boston prevailed by holding Cleveland to a season-low 88 points on 34.8 percent shooting (31-of-89).

Head coach Brad Stevens has transformed the Celtics into a defensive-minded organization, with Jayson Tatum (0.059), Jaylen Brown (0.058), Marcus Smart (0.058) and Al Horford (0.055) all ranking in the top six for defensive win shares. The other two names? Andre Roberson (0.058) and Kawhi Leonard (0.056).

Simply put, the Cavaliers are going to have their hands full against a Boston team that currently is favored to win the conference title, according to the latest Vegas odds.

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John Alfes is a senior at John Carroll University, and hails from Westlake, Ohio. His love and passion for the game of baseball originated in 1998, when he played catch with his father at the age of two. A former collegiate pitcher, Alfes currently serves as a Cleveland Cavaliers reporter for AP Radio/Metro Networks and the Cleveland Indians Beat Writer for CBS Sports/Scout Media Network, all while majoring in Communications (focus in Journalism) and English (focus in Professional Writing). He is the Sports Editor for The Carroll News, Sports Director for WJCU 88.7 FM and Senior Writer for the John Carroll Sports Information Department. John is an Eagle Scout and loves his two younger brothers (Conrad and Daniel) and two parents (John and Celeste). You can follow John Alfes on Twitter (@JohnAlfes) or reach him through email (

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