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Wrap-Up – Saturday afternoon in Boston both started and ended dramatically. About two hours before tip-off, the Cavaliers announced that starting center Andrew Bynum would be suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. In the game itself, the Wine and Gold saw Boston build a 22-point lead before mounting a frantic comeback that fell just short – sending Cleveland to the 103-100 loss – its fourth straight and sixth in the last seven games.
Kyrie Irving scored 12 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-7 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from long-distance. On the afternoon, Kyrie was 13-for-22 from the floor, 4-of-6 from three-point range. Dion Waiters followed up with 17 points, going 6-of-16 from the floor. Waiters had an opportunity to tie the game with 8.9 to play in the fourth, but Brandon Bass blocked his layup attempt to secure the lead.
Jarrett Jack canned a pair of big threes in the fourth quarter, part of his 14-point effort. Earl Clark rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures, netting all 12 of his points in the first stanza. Tyler Zeller, getting 21 minutes off the bench due to the absence of Bynum, led both clubs with 10 rebounds.
Turning Point – Saturday’s matinee went from a Boston blowout to a tight contest midway through the fourth quarter. After trailing by double-digits through much of the previous two quarters, Kyrie Irving cut Boston’s lead to single-digits with back-to-back three-pointers. Four minutes later, Jarrett Jack hit consecutive bombs to get Cleveland to within four, 98-94. The Cavs would eventually whittle Boston’s lead to a deuce before Bass’ block of Waiters’ game-tying attempt.
Game Ball – Anthony Bennett – The Cavs rookie didn’t put up huge numbers or make a huge impact on Saturday, but Bennett did show some true glimpses of what made him the No. 1 overall pick. His massive jam early in the fourth quarter seemed to wake up the team, but more importantly, he contributed in several areas and even found himself on the floor in the game’s closing seconds. Bennett finished with five points and five boards, adding two assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – 3,797 … Career rebounds for Anderson Varejao, moving him into 5th place on the Cavaliers all-time list, passing Jim Chones on Saturday afternoon
Quotable – Dion Waiters, lamenting the Cavaliers’ late-start pattern on the road …
”Imagine if we could play that whole game like that from start to finish. We were down twenty in the fourth quarter, cut it down just by the defense and moving the ball. It’s just frustrating knowing you can do those things and can’t do them on a consistent basis.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrap up 2013 with a pair of contests – at home on Sunday evening against Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the high-scoring Warriors and in Indiana on New Year’s Eve against the East-leading Pacers. On Thursday night, the Cavs welcome the Magic to The Q and travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets next Saturday.