Dion Waiters has been criticized for his shot selection during his young career. He added fuel to that fire Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
With the Cavaliers trailing the Celtics 102-100 with 19.3 seconds remaining, Waiters took it upon himself to try to tie or win the game… even though he has a game-changing, come-through-in-the-clutch point guard playing alongside him named Kyrie Irving.
Waiters took possession of the ball at the top of the key with about 14 seconds left on the clock. To his credit, he quickly realized that Brandon Bass was defending him 25 feet from the basket, which was an assumed defensive mismatch for Boston.
Not so much. Waiters made a move and drove down the left side of the lane and tried to sneak a layup in to tie the game up. However, Bass, who possesses a wingspan that is greater than 7-foot-2, followed Waiters to the basket and reached out to block the shot away.
Jeff Green hauled in the loose ball and Avery Bradley wound up being fouled by the Cavs with 1.4 seconds left. He made one of his two free throws to put Boston on top 103-100, which wound up being the final score of the game.
No one knows if things would have worked out differently had Waiters deferred his shot to Irving, but the Celtics have to love this result. The win gives Boston its first taste of victory since Dec. 16. Not a bad way to come out of a five-day layoff.
Key Box Score Line
If you watched Saturday’s game between the Celtics and Cavaliers, you probably didn’t walk away thinking that Jordan Crawford was Boston’s best player on the floor. Jeff Green tied for the team-high in scoring and rebounding, Avery Bradley made some electric plays, and Brandon Bass stuffed the stat sheet. But somehow, it’s Crawford who lands in this spot.
Crawford tied Green as the Celtics’ top scorer Saturday afternoon by dropping in 19 points. The difference between his points and Green’s, however, is that Crawford’s arrived in a much more efficient manner. Crawford shot 7-of-11 from the field, including a 3-of-5 performance from long range, in comparison to Green’s 5-for-12 shooting day.
Scoring isn’t the only thing Crawford did. He also pitched in solid contributions in several other categories. His five assists led the game and his five rebounds were only three shy of Boston’s team-high total of eight. Crawford also grabbed one steal on the afternoon.
Box Score Nuggets
- Cleveland scored 22 points in each of the first three quarters before scoring 34 in the fourth.
- Six Celtics scored in double-figures, including four starters who scored at least 15 points.
- Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford tied for the team high in points with 19 apiece.
- Brandon Bass was the only player in the game to block multiple shots. He finished with two blocks.
- Boston led by as many as 22 points.
- Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 32 points.
- Cleveland (46.8 percent) actually outshot Boston (45.8 percent) in the game.
- Kelly Olynyk grabbed seven rebounds in just 14 minutes of action.
- Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley tied for the team high in rebounds with eight apiece.
- Tyler Zeller led the game in rebounds with 10.
- No player in the game recorded a double-double.
- Anderson Varejao, who grabbed 17 rebounds Thursday night, was limited to just eight on Saturday.
Quote of the Night
You know, I was telling (Celtics President) Rich Gotham, it should’ve been promoted as part of our holiday package. ‘Every game is an adventure.’ And that would’ve been- #GreenRunsDeep, #EveryGamesAnAdventure. That would be a great thing to promote. Brad Stevens on Boston's stretch of close games