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Wrap-Up – After dropping two straight on the road, the Wine and Gold were in serious need of some home cookin’. They got it on Tuesday night and made a quick meal of the young Celtics, surging past Boston late in the first quarter and coasting the rest of the way to notch the 110-79 win at The Q – their 12th straight at home.
LeBron James led everyone – notching 27 points in 26 minutes, going 12-of-23 from the floor and adding five assists, three boards and a game-high three steals. Neither he nor the rest of the starting lineup (or Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert, for that matter) saw action in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s blowout.
Kyrie Irving returned from two games on the shelf with a strained left shoulder to follow up with 18 points, going an economical 6-of-10 from the floor along with five helpers, three boards and a pair of steals.
Kevin Love and J.R. Smith added a dozen points apiece – with Love leading both squads with eight boards and Smith adding four rebounds and a steal. Timofey Mozgov notched 10 points, six boards and a game-high three blocks while holding former Cavalier Tyler Zeller to just three shot attempts on the night.
Tristan Thompson was efficient as always – going 4-of-4 from the field to finish with 10 points and seven boards in just 17 minutes of work. James Jones turned in another strong performance off Cleveland’s bench – canning a pair of treys and finishing with 10 points, six boards, a pair of assists and a steal.
The Cavaliers dominated Boston essentially across the board – beating them up in the paint, 48-22, on the glass, 52-42, and on the fastbreak, 15-4. The Wine and Gold shot 48 percent from the floor while holding the Celtics to just 35 percent. One game after shooting just 52 percent from the free throw line, the Cavs were a perfect 14-for-14 on Tuesday night at The Q.
Turning Point – This one got away from the Celtics early. They took a quick lead, 11-9, on Tyler Zeller’s jumper four minutes into the game, but Kyrie Irving canned back-to-back treys that ignited a 12-0 run and put the Cavs up double-digits with 4:14 to play in the first. Boston found itself down 13 points after one quarter and was trailing by three touchdowns midway through the second. The Wine and Gold would extend their edge to 44 points in the third quarter before David Blatt emptied his bench with the second-half of a back-to-back looming on Wednesday night in Toronto.
By the Numbers – 24,508 … Career points that LeBron James has now scored during his NBA career, passing Ray Allen to move into the No. 22 spot on the all-time list. To move into the Top 20, James has his sights set on No. 20, Patrick Ewing (24,815) and No. 19, the logo – Jerry West (25,192).
Quotable – Coach David Blatt, on whether his team is playoff-ready …
”I don’t think we’re playoff-ready yet but I certainly think that we’re getting there…I feel like we’re getting there, I really do, particularly because we’ve shored up our defense and we’re good at that end now. When you’re good on defense, you can compete in the playoffs.”
Up Next – After crushing the Celtics on Tuesday night at The Q, the Cavaliers hit the road for a pair of huge road contests. On Wednesday night, they travel to Toronto to take on the Raptors, who come into the contest 38-22, 9.5 games behind the Hawks in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland heads north of the border with a 38-24 mark. On Friday, the Wine and Gold take on the Hawks – a team everyone in the East is chasing – for the final time this season. The Cavs round out their four-games-in-five-nights stretch on Saturday night when the Phoenix Suns come to The Q.