Notebook: Celtics 93, Cavaliers 92



Posted Mar 27, 2013 11:51 PM

Brian Dulik, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Power forward Jeff Green scored on a driving layup as time expired, giving the Boston Celtics a 93-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green took an inbounds pass from point guard Avery Bradley at the top of the arc with 2.1 seconds left, then drove down the right side of the lane before floating up a shot between the outstretched arms of Cavaliers guards Wayne Ellington and Shaun Livingston. Forward Brandon Bass scored a season-high 22 points for the Celtics, who snapped a five-game losing streak. Ellington paced Cleveland with 16 points, while shooting guard C.J. Miles had 13 points and a career-high six assists.

QUOTABLE: "Jet (shooting guard Jason Terry) set a good screen on my man, and Avery made a good pass. I just tried to be aggressive and get to the rim. There was no doubt what I was going to do. I'm a player."
-- Celtics power forward Green.

THE STAT: Boston ended the game on a 21-6 run to erase a 14-point deficit, which was the largest spread for either team all evening. The Cavaliers had taken an 86-72 lead on a short jumper by center Marreese Speights with 8:08 left, but blew their second straight large late lead at home. "I thought we stopped being aggressive," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "We were looking at the clock, playing not to lose the game, instead of trying to win the game." Green scored nine of his 21 points over the final eight minutes, including his game-winning layup at the buzzer.

TURNING POINT: After Miles made two free throws to extend the Cavaliers' lead to 92-89 with 39 seconds left, Celtics shooting guard Paul Pierce scored on a fadeaway jumper just seven ticks later -- giving Boston a two-for-one opportunity. When Livingston misfired on a short jumper with 11 seconds remaining, shooting guard Jordan Crawford grabbed the defensive rebound, and the Celtics had the rest of the clock at their disposal. "They had a chance to win it at the end, and they did," Miles said. "It was just a point of execution and us not doing what we needed to."

QUOTABLE II: "Jeff wanted the ball at the end. He asked for it by the way he was looking at me in the huddle. He clearly wanted the basketball. I sensed that and everybody sensed that, so I called the play for him."
-- Celtics coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers.

HOT: The Celtics' win -- coupled with Milwaukee's 100-92 loss in Philadelphia -- extended Boston's lead over the Bucks to 2 1/2 games in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. ... Pierce collected 19 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, seven turnovers, two blocked shots, and one steal in 36 minutes. ... Green also scored the game-winning basket in the Celtics' previous road victory, 83-81 at Indiana on March 6. ... Cavaliers shooting guard Daniel "Boobie" Gibson had six points and a season-high tying six assists off the bench. ... Cleveland center Tyler Zeller rung up 11 points and nine boards in just 24 minutes.

NOT: The Cavaliers tied their longest losing streak of the season at six games. They also have the third-worst home record in the NBA at 13-22 and the third-worst overall mark at 22-48. ... Cleveland power forward Tristan Thompson missed five of his six field goal attempts and only scored two points in 24 minutes. ... The Cavaliers squandered a 27-point, second-half advantage in their previous home game against Miami. It was the largest blown lead in Cleveland's 43-year NBA history. ... Livingston was the only Cavaliers starter to record a basket or an assist in the fourth quarter. ... Neither team grabbed an offensive rebound in the final 12:45.

QUOTABLE III: "I feel like, at this point, we have to hold ourselves accountable. We're all professionals here, and we should all be communicating with each other and helping each other on the defensive end of the floor."
-- Cavaliers shooting guard Ellington.

GOOD MOVE: Rivers could have called the final play for legendary clutch scorer Pierce or sharpshooter Terry, but he opted to go with Green. "I thought Jeff at the four was our best advantage (over Cavaliers power forward Luke Walton)," Rivers explained. "Paul is our best offensive player, but there are certain nights when your team has a better advantage. I figured I was going to go with that advantage."

BAD MOVE: Byron Scott had multiple timeouts left, but opted not to call one before the Cavaliers' final possession, which saw Livingston dribble down the clock before missing a shot in the middle of the key. "(Boston) was going to switch up everything anyway, and it was going to be pretty much the same shot we ended up with," Scott insisted. "Shaun got right into the paint, about a 10-footer, but he just missed it."

NOTABLE: Celtics shooting guard Courtney Lee (left ankle sprain) missed his third straight game, but Rivers said he could play Friday against the Hawks. ... Also out for Boston were power forwards Kevin Garnett (left ankle inflammation) and Jared Sullinger (season-ending back surgery), and point guard Rajon Rondo (season-ending right ACL surgery). Garnett is expected to miss 1-2 more weeks. ... Cleveland played without its top three scorers in All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left shoulder sprain), shooting guard Dion Waiters (left knee soreness), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery). Irving is out until at least early April, while Waiters' status will be updated later this week. ... The Cavaliers are 62-156 since LeBron James left the franchise for Miami in July 2010.

UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Friday vs. Atlanta, Sunday vs. New York, Monday @ Minnesota. For the Cavaliers, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Sunday @ New Orleans, Monday @ Atlanta.