Celtics Edge Cavs at The Q
David Liam Kyle
In the teams’ three meetings this season, the road team has won each time – with the Celtics squeaking by the Wine and Gold, 86-83, on Tuesday night in Cleveland.
After being intentionally fouled with 2.5 seconds to play, Ray Allen canned a pair of free throws to give Boston a three-point edge. After a Cavs timeout, Anthony Parker worked his way around a screen and had a good look, but his game-tying attempt drew front iron and Boston held on for the road win.
“I thought our guys really competed and played hard,” said Byron Scott. “Obviously, we didn’t make enough shots. Defensively, I thought we did some real good things. I loved the effort and as I told them after the game, we have to continue to play that hard if not harder.”
After overcoming a 16-point first-half deficit, the Cavaliers were neck-and-neck with Boston for the entire second stanza. There were five ties and six lead-changes in the fourth quarter alone.
The Wine and Gold took a one-point advantage with 1:21 to play when Kyrie Irving drained a pair of free throws to make it 81-80. But the Cavs point guard turned the ball over after rebounding a Ray Allen miss. Garnett grabbed the bad pass and fed ahead to Allen, who gave Boston the lead back with a dunk.
Both teams traded free throws before Parker’s three-point attempt fell short.
Irving led both teams with 24 points – going 8-for-14 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and 5-of-5 from the stripe. This June’s top pick added four boards, three assists and a steal.
Ramon Sessions and Tristan Thompson each pitched in with 13 points apiece off the bench – with Thompson leading Cleveland with 10 rebounds, six off the offensive glass.
“Whenever I come into the game, my role is pretty simple: just come in and give them a spark,” said Thompson. “I try to do that every game and get us extra possessions on the offensive end, rebound and block shots. That’s my role on the team and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Omri Casspi rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points.
Every member of the Celtics starting lineup notched double-figures except Rajon Rondo – who didn’t score a single point but led both squads with 11 assists.
The Cavaliers came into Tuesday’s contest trailing the Celtics by just 1.5 games in the chase for the 8th playoff seed, but couldn’t gain any ground in the first game after the All-Star Break.
Cleveland lapped Boston on points in the paint (44-22) and on the break (13-6), but the Celtics tallied nine more assists and missed just a single free throw on the evening.
The beat goes on for the Cavs, who travel to the Big Apple for the second-half of a back-to-back against Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.