Final Dime: Celtics 112, Cavaliers 95
Ramon Sessions tallied 14 points and seven assists on Tuesday night Boston.
1. Yes, the Cavaliers dropped their 18th straight game – falling to the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Celtics, 112-95, on Tuesday night in Boston.
But Cavaliers fans who watched Tuesday’s matchup had to come away impressed with Cleveland’s group of youngsters and how they performed against a lineup of Hall of Famers in an unfriendly environment.
The Wine and Gold were within a bucket near the end of the first period, but the Celtics outscored Cleveland by 14 in the second quarter to take a 67-45 lead into the locker room. Boston extended their lead to 24 points early in the third, but the young Cavaliers would not go away.
The Cavaliers dueled Boston to a draw in the third quarter and outscored them, 26-21, in the final period – albeit with Boston resting some starters.
Despite the strong finish, Tuesday’s loss marked a franchise record as the Cavaliers lost for the 22nd straight time away from The Q. Along with the 18-game skein, they’ve dropped 27 of their last 28 games.
Coach Scott was concise in his thoughts on the streak. “I look at it game by game, I don’t care about that crap,” said Scott. “I care about our guys getting better and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Christian Eyenga led seven Cavaliers in double-figures with 15 points on 6-for-15 shooting. The rookie from Congo, who seems to gain confidence with every outing, added three boards and a blocked shot.
Many Harris and Ramon Sessions chipped in with 14 points apiece. Sessions was 4-for-8 from the field with a team-high seven assists. Manny added four boards and four assists, doing all his damage in just 18 minutes off the bench.
“I know we’re young, and they’re vets, but the way they move the ball, and the way they box out, and the way they do the little things every time, it’s somewhere we would like to get to as a team,” said Harris.
J.J. Hickson continued his strong play in the post – clogging the boxscore with 12 points and a game-high 17 boards, adding five assists and four blocks.
Antawn Jamison finished with 11 points and seven boards and Samardo Samuels and Joey Graham added 10 points apiece with Samuels adding a pair of blocked shots.
The game was statistically close, but Boston preyed upon the inexperienced Cavs in the turnover department, where Boston forced Cleveland into 16 turnovers resulting in 19 points. The Celtics committed just nine miscues on Tuesday.
The Cavaliers wrap up the mini-road trip with a dubious record in-tow, but with young guns looking to grab the spotlight. It’ll be back on them this Friday night when the Wine and Gold welcome the Nuggets to The Q.
2. For the first time this season, all three Cavaliers rookies – Eyenga, Samuels and Manny Harris – notched double-digits on Tuesday night.
3. After missing the previous two games of the trip with a sore back, Anthony Parker joined his mates for Tuesday night’s affair. Parker came off the bench for 14 minutes, netting three points on 1-for-5 shooting.
4. J.J. Hickson had a strong night and was especially unstoppable in the third quarter – scoring 10 of his 12 points and grabbing 11 of his 17 rebounds. His five assists were a career-high and four blocks tied a career-best.
5. Over Hickson’s last seven road games, he’s averaging 14.1 points and 12.7 boards per contest.
6. With Christian Eyenga notching 15 points in just his fourth start, ten different Cavaliers have now led the squad in scoring this year.
7. Tuesday night’s contest was the first time the Cavaliers traveled to Boston since getting knocked out in Game 6 of last year’s playoffs and it’s the last time they’ll face the Celts for the season.
8. Former Cavaliers, Shaquille O’Neal and Delonte West did not dress for Tuesday’s affair. Shaq was out with a sore right leg, while West is still recovering from wrist surgery.
9. Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Tait, who recently underwent successful heart surgery, was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday afternoon and transferred to a rehabilitation center. The Voice of the Cavaliers will now undergo and intensive rehabilitation period before heading home.
10. The Cavaliers, who now lead the league in road games with 26, wrap up their longest road trip for quite a while. After January, the club travels for just 13 more games this year – including two three-gamers, with one more extended trip out West.