Unlike most young teams, the Cavaliers have had no trouble with the fourth quarter. It’s the first three that’s been giving them fits.
For the third time in their last three contests, the Wine and Gold staged a dramatic late-game rally. Unfortunately, they’ve dropped two of them – both at home.
The Cavaliers trailed by 18 points heading into the final period, but came out with a 13-2 run to start the fourth, cutting Boston’s lead to just a deuce with 1:18 to play. But Kevin Garnett canned a 13-footer and Paul Pierce drained a pair of free throws as Boston held on to hand Cleveland the tough 93-90 loss on Tuesday at The Q.
“With so many guys down and to still compete the way that we competed, to get that game to two points, I thought was great,” said Coach Byron Scott. “I told them I was very proud of the way they played, how hard they played.”
While much of the squad saved their best for last, Anderson Varejao brought it for all four quarters. The Wild Thing has been playing at an All-Star level all year, but outdid himself on Tuesday, netting 20 points and a career-high 20 boards – 10 off the offensive glass.
“It’s good to have a game like that, but we didn’t take care of home court,” said Varejao. “We have to win more games at home. It was a tough loss.”
Kyrie Irving also added to the late-game dramatics, finishing with 21 points – 13 of which he scored in the final period. The rookie point guard added six helpers and committed just a pair of turnovers in 37 minutes of action.
Antawn Jamison added a dozen points and Alonzo Gee came off the bench to round out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11, adding a game-high four steals. Ramon Sessions led both clubs with 10 assists.
The Celtics led by as many as 22 on Tuesday and held the Cavaliers to just 34 points in the second and third quarters combined. But the Wine and Gold outscored the Celts, 32-17, in the fourth. But it wasn’t enough, with Boston coming away with the home-and-home split.
The Cavaliers travel to the Sunshine State for the first of a weekend back-to-back. On Friday night, they face off against the Magic in Orlando before returning to The Q for a Saturday night matchup with the World Champion Dallas Mavericks.