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Wrap-Up – The Celtics jumped on the Wine and Gold early on Friday night, going up by double-digits four minutes into the ballgame and never looking back to hand the Cavaliers the 103-86 loss at the TD Garden in Boston. It was Cleveland’s fifth straight loss, its third straight by double-figures.
Dion Waiters continued to thrive off the bench, leading the squad with 21 points in 34 minutes of action. Kyrie Irving followed up with 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting, but he was the only Cavalier starter to notch double-figures. Anderson Varejao doubled-up with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Every Cavalier that dressed got into the scoring column.
All five of Boston’s starters tallied double-figures and the Celtics shot an even 50 percent as a team. Jordan Crawford registered a triple-double with 11 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. The Celtics had 26 assists on 38 made baskets and swatted seven Cavalier shots.
Turning Point – Friday night’s contest got out of hand early and, save a couple Cavalier mini-runs, was never much of a contest. The Wine and Gold started the game hitting one of their first 13 shots as Boston ran out to an 18-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Kyrie Irving got hot in the second quarter and Cleveland cut the Celtics’ edge to just a dozen with three minutes remaining in the half, but Boston scored the next six points to ice the Cavs’ momentum.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – Coming off a season-high 24-point performance against the Heat on Wednesday, Waiters again led the Wine and Gold. The sophomore guard was 7-of-18 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the stripe, adding a team-high six assists and four boards. Waiters has netted double-figures is nine of his last 10 games, averaging 16.3 points and 3.2 assists over that span.
By the Numbers – 56 … points scored by the Cavaliers reserves on Friday night in Boston. Cleveland’s bench has now scored at least 50 points in four of the last five games. The Cavs have now outscored their opponent’s bench in 13 of 16 contests so far this season.
Quotable – Head ‘Coach Mike Brown, on trying to find some answers to snap his team’s five-game skid…
”Nobody wants to go through this. There’s not a single guy in that locker room that wants to go through this – from coaches to players on down. This is tough to deal with, tough to swallow. And I just know one thing: I’m going to keep searching and fighting and working until we find something that works.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers return home on Saturday night to take on the Bulls, currently 7-7 and facing another season without former MVP Derek Rose. Cleveland dropped a 96-81 decision in Chicago back on November 11, but the Bulls come in playing the final game of a six-game road trip. Following the Divisional battle, the Cavs welcome the Nuggets to The Q on Wednesday – the first time the Wine and Gold has had two straight home games all year. They travel to Atlanta next Friday night and welcome CP3 and the Clippers to Cleveland next Saturday.