CLEVELAND, Dec. 18 (Ticker) -- Ricky Davis
silenced LeBron James
Boston Celtics silenced Gund Arena.
Davis shut down James during a fourth-quarter comeback and
scored six straight points in overtime, lifting the
Celtics to a 114-107 victory over James and the Cleveland
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"Ricky's been our defensive ace all year and he draws all the
tough assignments," Celtics star Paul Pierce
said. "He's not
going to back down from anybody."
The Cavaliers held an 89-74 lead early in the fourth quarter and
appeared headed for their 10th straight home win. But with
Davis - a former Cavalier who left on bad terms - keeping the
explosive James scoreless for nearly the entire period, the
Celtics climbed back in it.
"Ricky came up big tonight," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I
was worried about Ricky before the game because coming back here
and Ricky is excitable, as you well know. But he hung in there
for us and was great."
"I just tried to use some experience on (James) and made him try
to make tough shots," said Davis. "I grabbed myself a piece of
gum today (coming to Gund Arena) and tried to chew gum and
play. I don't do that too often, but it was something to keep
my mind off the crowd."
Boston caught Cleveland at 97-97 with 3:34 left on a scoop shot
by Payton, who scored 21 points. Jeff McInnis
and Walter McCarty
traded 3-pointers before a layup by Raef LaFrentz
Celtics a 102-100 lead with 1:43 to go.
"We did tighten up a little as a team," admitted James, who
scored 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting.
James finally got loose for a lane jumper that tied it with 40
seconds to play. But he misfired in the lane in traffic on
Cleveland's next possession with seven seconds to play and the
teams went to overtime.
Two jumpers by James gave the Cavaliers a 107-104 lead with 2:53
left. But LaFrentz sank two foul shots and Davis smothered
James, forcing a jump ball won by the Celtics. The teenage
sensation fouled out for the first time in his career 18 seconds
"I got some tough breaks early in the game, but the one I fouled
out on was the correct call," James said.
Then Payton took over. He drilled a 3-pointer at the 1:16 mark
to give Boston the lead for good, then added a free throw with
46 seconds left. After Drew Gooden
missed a potential tying
3-pointer, Payton sealed Boston's fourth win in five games with
two more from the line.
"There were about one or two seconds left (on the shot clock)
and I shot (the 3-pointer) in rhythm," Payton said. "There was
no panic. (My teammates) like having the ball in my hands."
Pierce scored 34 points for the Celtics, who trailed by 16
points in the third quarter but improved to 2-1 in overtime.
Davis scored 14 points off the bench and LaFrentz added 12 and
"We've lost like five or six games by three (points) or less and
it starts to get frustrating," Pierce said. "We know we can
score, so if we can go out there and defend every night out at a
high level, then we're going to be a tough team to beat."
scored 21 points and Gooden added 17 and 16
rebounds for the Cavaliers, who lost at Gund for the first time
since a season-opening setback to Indiana in double overtime.
"We didn't start pushing the basketball and were trying to hold
onto the lead instead of attacking," Cleveland coach Paul Silas
said. "We turned it over too much down the stretch and took
some errant shots."
"Give Boston credit," Cavaliers guard Jeff McInnis said. "We
just could never get back the energy and momentum from early in
Holding a one-point lead early in the second half, the Cavaliers
put together a 16-4 surge featuring a three-point play and
3-pointer by James to open a 73-60 lead.
Cleveland was without backup point guard Eric Snow
, who served a
one-game suspension after a heated exchange with Silas during
the second quarter of Thursday night's loss at Detroit.