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Still no KG For Celtics

The Cleveland Cavaliers used a boost from the return of their superstar to win their last game.

The Boston Celtics probably won't have that luxury on Tuesday when they visit Cleveland, one of only three road cities where they've lost.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Cleveland -2.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 185 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston +2.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Despite coming off a rare five-day layoff, Boston (36-8) will likely play a fourth straight game without forward Kevin Garnett, who still hasn't practiced since sustaining an abdominal strain Jan. 25 against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"It's just not where we want it to be," Celtics coach Doc Rivers told the team's official Web site on Sunday. "I'm not concerned, but I do know that injury is not easy. It's slow. There's no reason for us to take a gamble on it."

The Celtics dropped their first game without Garnett at Orlando, but have won their last two, including a 96-90 home win over Dallas last Thursday.

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen compensated for the forward's absence against the Mavericks, each scoring 26 points. Allen had also missed the previous game, a 117-87 win at Miami, with the flu.

Point guard Rajon Rondo had 14 points - including the go-ahead basket in the final minute - while Boston also got key bench contributions from James Posey and Leon Powe.

Posey had 13 points, making 3-of-5 from 3-point range and grabbing a key steal in the final seconds, while Powe added 10 points and four rebounds before fouling out.

"Any game we win without Kevin is important for us, part of our growth process," Rivers said. "Dallas is a team that we are still trying to catch, in our minds. They've been there. So when we play those types of teams, they're important."

The reigning Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers (26-20) fall into the same category, especially after the Celtics lost 109-104 in overtime at Quicken Loans Arena on Nov. 27. Boston is 16-4 on the road, having only lost twice in Orlando and at Washington and Cleveland.

LeBron James had 38 points and 13 assists against Boston, as Drew Gooden chipped in with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting, helping to hand the Celtics their fifth straight loss in Cleveland dating back to the 2004-05 season.

James also played a pivotal role in Cleveland's last game, compiling 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in leading the Cavs to a 98-84 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. He had missed the previous game, a 101-95 loss at Seattle, with a sprained ankle.

"I knew I could go out there and give my best effort," James said. "I'm not as strong as I want to be right now, but I knew I could play well. My ankle's been better, but it didn't get worse, and that's a good thing."

The Cavs have won eight of their last nine when James is in the lineup, and are 12-3 overall in 2008.

They've lost all six games James has been sidelined this season, including their most recent meeting with Boston, an 80-70 road loss on Dec. 2 with James out with a sprained left index finger.

The MVP candidate leads the NBA with 30.1 points per game, and is also in the top 10 in assists with 7.2 per game.

Two other Cleveland players also had double-doubles against the Clippers, as Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 22 points and 13 rebounds while Gooden added 14 and 12.

"Sometimes Z is unbelievable," James said. "When he wants the ball in the post we give it to him, and when he wants the ball on the perimeter we give it to him."

The duo has increased responsibilities with forward Anderson Varejao sidelined for a few more weeks with an ankle sprain.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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