Celtics Rally Past Cavs
Wrap-Up – For the Wine and Gold, Friday’s home game can’t come quick enough. If nothing else, it’ll give them a chance to wipe clean the memory of their last two outings from The Q.
For the second time in seven days, the Cavaliers squandered a late lead. One week ago, it was the Heat who overcame a 27-point second-half advantage. On Wednesday, Boston’s Jeff Green cut through the Cavaliers defense to sink a layup at the buzzer, capping a Celtics run that saw them rally past a Cleveland team that lead by eight with under three minutes to play. Green’s bucket gave Boston the 93-92 win and sent the shorthanded Cavaliers to their sixth straight defeat.
Cleveland extended their edge to 14 points early in the fourth quarter, taking a two-touchdown lead on Mo Speights’ runner. But the Celtics closed the contest on a 21-6 run to stun a Cavaliers club that’s still missing their starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Wayne Ellington led six Cavaliers in double-figures with 16 points, going 7-for-16 from the floor with three boards, two assists and a game-high three steals. C.J. Miles and Marreese Speights added 13 points apiece off Byron Scott’s bench. Shaun Livingston and Alonzo Gee chipped in with a dozen points each and Tyler Zeller finished with 11 points and nine boards, going 5-of-6 from the floor.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers tilted the contest in their favor in the third period – shooting 72 percent in a quarter that’s been their downfall frequently this season. Cleveland went into the fourth up six and extended that edge to 14 with 8:08 to play. The Cavs were up eight when their old nemesis – Paul Pierce – took over, scoring four quick points to cut Cleveland’s lead in half. Pierce’s fadeaway got the Celtics to within one – 92-91 – with 32 seconds remaining. Jeff Green would seal the deal seconds later.
Game Ball – Cavaliers Second Unit – Cleveland’s bench outscored Boston’s, 39-22, but the Cavs reserves contributed with more than just scoring. Aside from their 13-point efforts, Speights added six boards and Miles, a career-high six assists. Boobie Gibson added six helpers as well and Luke Walton finished with four assists and six boards.
By the Numbers – 4.6 … assists per game that Luke Walton is averaging since January 22 – leading all bench players in that category during that stretch.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the frustration of Wednesday’s loss at The Q …
“I thought we stopped being aggressive. We were looking at the clock, playing not to lose the game instead of win the game. With 5:40 left in the game, we get one field goal for the rest of the game. Again, you have to be aggressive. You have to look to win. You can’t hope the clock runs out and I thought that’s what we kind of did.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers are at home on Friday night when they welcome the Sixers to town. They then travel for their last multiple-stop road trip – on Easter Sunday in the Big Easy followed by a stop in Atlanta, taking on the Hawks on Monday night.