There have been several teams this season that have thrown a haymaker at the Celtics in the opening quarter. On Friday night, the C’s threw one of their own.
And it landed.
Boston jumped on the Cavs early with an 18-2 run out of the gates. Four of the five Celtics starters scored during that spurt as the group displayed fantastic teamwork at both ends of the court.
Brandon Bass got it all going the way he typically does – with a jumper. He nailed a 12-footer to get the C’s on the board just 41 seconds into the contest. Bass and Avery Bradley teamed up to score the team’s next eight points, including two 3-pointers by Bradley.
The lead at that point was 10-2 with 8:35 remaining in the first. Kyrie Irving accounted for the only basket scored by Cleveland to that point, and it didn’t get another field goal until 2:20 remained in the quarter.
In the meantime, Boston continued to plug away. Jordan Crawford scored his first bucket of the game with 8:01 remaining and then Jeff Green followed up with four consecutive points. Two of those points got the Garden on its feet, as Green threw down a loud dunk off an alley-oop pass from Crawford. Bass closed out the run with an alley-oop finish of his own to put the C’s on top 18-2.
Boston’s dominant performance didn’t end there. The Celtics picked the Cavaliers apart with ease at both ends of the court as they cruised to a 103-86 victory.
A glance at the box score will leave you with a lasting impression of just how great this performance was by Boston. Jordan Crawford had a triple-double, Avery Bradley shot lights-out en route to 21 points, and Jeff Green scored a season-high 31 points.
Those individual numbers were great, but as Brad Stevens said after the game, it was all a byproduct of that team play the team displayed from the opening tip.
"It’s the old adage that if we play together, everybody gets lifted up," Stevens said.
On this night, the Celtics were lifted up while they knocked the Cavs down.
Key Box Score Line
You gotta love the games when there are several options for the Celtics’ Box Score Line of the Night, right? Friday night’s meeting between the C’s and Cavs was certainly one of those games.
Jeff Green scored a season-high 31 points and Avery Bradley dropped in 21 on 9-of-11 shooting. Neither of those players, however, get the limelight of this section. Instead, Jordan Crawford owns the night.
Crawford logged the third triple-double of his career Friday night as he tallied 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Cleveland. Those 11 rebounds more than doubled his previous season high of five. This also marked the third time this season in which Crawford dished out exactly 10 helpers.
Brad Stevens left Crawford in the game during the final minutes as the guard sat just one point shy of his triple-double. Following the contest, Stevens claimed that he had no knowledge of Crawford’s triple-double chase.
“He had a triple-double?” the coach asked after the game with a smile. “Crawford did? Holy smokes. I had no idea.”
Stevens left No. 27 in at the end of the game for one reason or another. Our best guess is that he knew exactly what was going on and that his quote listed above was stated out of pure sarcasm. Stevens’ decision to leave Crawford in wound up paying off, as Crawford hit two free throws with 1:34 remaining to seal the deal on his Rajon Rondo-like stat line.
Crawford played 32 minutes and 35 seconds Friday night and finished with a team-best plus-24 in the plus/minus category. That’s one heck of a night; one that was good enough to outshine the stellar performances by Bradley and Green.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics led from start to finish, and by as many as 25 points.
- Jeff Green scored a season-high 31 points.
- Kyrie Irving was the only Cavs starter to score more than six points. The starters combined to tally 30 points.
- Boston scored 24 points in both the third quarter and the fourth quarter.
- Avery Bradley scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
- Cleveland shot just 4-of-18 from long range.
- Jared Sullinger scored all 12 of his points from beyond the 3-point arc, as he shot 4-of-5 from long distance.
- Green attempted a game-high 13 free throws.
- Jordan Crawford led the Celtics in both rebounds (11) and assists (10) while finishing with a triple-double (11 points).
- Dion Waiters led the Cavs in scoring with 21 points.
- Crawford's 10 assists were just three less than the entire Cleveland team accumulated.
- The Cavs scored just 10 points in the first quarter.
Quote of the Night
I thought that might have been our best game of the year at both ends of the floor. Brad Stevens on his team's performanceMore quotes >>