Keys to the Game: Celtics 95, Cavaliers 89

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 95, Cavaliers 89

Game Highlights

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Photo of the Game

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce scored 10 of his 23 points in the final 4:03 of the game, helping the C's to clinch an Opening Night win in Cleveland.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty

By Marc D'Amico

Key Moment

Playing in front of a raucus crowd at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed out of the gates to a 19-5 lead just 4:57 into the first quarter. It seemed like the Cavs may have been ready to prove that they were the superior squad, but the Celtics had other ideas. After the Celtics' deficit was cut down to 10, it was Boston's bench that showed their will and stopped Cleveland's runaway attempt.

Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Shelden Williams combined for seven points down the stretch to help the Celtics close the first quarter on a 7-2 run. Then, in the early moments of the second period, a Ray Allen layup was sandwiched by an Eddie House 3-pointer and two free throws from Williams at the 10:03 mark. Those free throws brought the C's to within two points, at 30-28.

During that run, the Celtics' bench held Cleveland to 1-of-8 shooting, blocked a shot and forced two turnovers. It wasn't the run that gave the Celtics the lead, but it was definitely the one that kept them in the game and gave them an opportunity to steal a win on the road.

Stat Line of the Game

Paul Pierce scored 13 points in the first half but was silenced until the 4:03 mark of the fourth quarter. But it didn't matter, he came through when the team needed him most. He finished the game by scoring 10 points in the final 4:03, including two jumpers that stalled Cleveland's comeback bid and free throws to ice the game with less than a minute remaining

Box Score Nuggets

  • Paul Pierce and LeBron James, known for their great battles, combined for 61 points on 18-of-35 shooting.
  • Boston shot 9-of-19 from 3-point range, the exact number they shot against Cleveland in their preseason finale Wednesday night.
  • Shaquille O'Neal recorded 10 rebounds in his Cleveland debut, but all of them came on the defensive end.
  • Cleveland scored 28 points in the first quarter, but managed only 37 over the next two periods combined.
  • Boston's bench outscored Cleveland's by a count of 26-10.
  • J.J. Hickson was the only player to enter the game and not record a point.
  • Boston's four bench players that entered the game had the four highest +/- differentials of the game.
  • Rajon Rondo recorded 10 of the Celtics' 20 assists.

Quote of the Night

LeBron James on the Celtics' dominating defense: "Boston is a great team. They took us out of a lot of our sets that we have been working on in practice. They made us get into a lot of 'hot' situations, meaning late clock and a lot of one-on-one basketball."