Sunday, January 29, 2012
Cavaliers Steal One From The Celtics 88-87 On Kyrie Irving's Basket With 2 Seconds Left
I wasn't alone in thinking that the Boston Celtics had a five-game win streak all but sealed tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden.
The C's (9-10) were up 87-76 on the Cavs (8-11) with 4:26 left. To say the rest of the game was a disaster for Boston would be too kind; they went scoreless which allowed Cleveland to end on a 12-0 run, capped off by Kyrie Irving's (23 points, 6 assists) layup with two seconds left, for a humbling 88-87 loss.
This was the first game in 2011-12 that Boston had totally let slip through its hands. It was a sobering reminder that at this stage, they can't assume anything even against rather mediocre opposition.
The loss snapped the Celtics' four-game winning streak and dropped them under .500 while putting them at 6-6 in Boston.
Ray Allen was back after missing three games with an ankle injury and it was like he never left. He scored a team-high 22 points. Paul Pierce had 18 points but he missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer, he didn't get it off in time. Kevin Garnett had 14 points and Brandon Bass scored 13 as the Green went for the fifth straight game without Rajon Rondo. Jermaine O'Neal and Keyon Dooling were also still out.
Anderson Varejao had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers while the ancient Antawn Jamison scored 10. Alonzo Gee posted 14 points off the bench for Cleveland who will probably struggle until they can find a suitable running mate for the impressive Irving (2011 No. 1 overall pick).
Boston led 24-23 after one quarter but Cleveland went ahead 44-43 at halftime. The Celts opened it up in the third (70-62) but their offense went missing in the fourth (26-17).
The Celtics shot much better (52.2-43.0%) and hit two more 3-pointers (5-3) but the Cavs hit seven more free throws (17-10) and grabbed four more rebounds (37-33). Boston had nine more assists (21-12) which was a product of Cleveland going 1-on-1 almost exclusively but the Cavs made five more steals (11-6), scored 13 more fast break points (15-2) and dominated inside (54-32 points in the paint).
The best news for Boston is that they play Cleveland on two more occasions, including the next time that they suit up (on Tuesday in Cleveland). That's the beginning of a busy week for the C's since they host the Raptors on Wednesday, the Knicks come on Friday and they face the Grizzlies in a Super Bowl matinee on Sunday in Boston.
After Tuesday's game in Cleveland, Boston is home for five consecutive contests. It is a favorable schedule against mostly teams that they should beat so they need to take advantage.