Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cavs 110 - Celtics 79: Cavs blowout C's at Cleveland


It was an ugly performance, as ugly as it's ever looked for coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics.

At the end of the first quarter the Cleveland Cavaliers were up, 29-16 and pushed their lead to over 40 points in the second half.

After extending their lead to 30-something points for most of the third quarter, the Cavs hit a 44-point lead when former Celtic Kendrick Perkins (how fitting) sank a hook shot in the first two minutes of the fourth, giving the Cavs a 100-56 lead.

LeBron James scored 27 points in 25 minutes for Cleveland, and moved into 21st place on the NBA's career scoring list when he scored a layup in the third quarter. James passed his former teammate, and former Celtic, Ray Allen on the list.

James was one of seven Cavaliers to reach double-digits, including all-star guard Kyrie Irving, who finished with 18 points and dished out five assists.

The Cavs' defense overwhelmed the Celtics in first half. The C's couldn't get open shots on offense, forced passes and committed 11 first half turnovers. Boston looked like a team that was playing their first game together, there was little chemistry on offense and little to none of the defensive end.
"From the opening tip, we didn't play like we wanted to win," Isaiah Thomas said. "We were playing very soft, offensively and defensively. And we've got to fix that. We're not that good of a team to not play with energy. Every day we have to play with energy."
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Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 15 points (7-for15) and Isaiah Thomas scored 11 (4-for-13) off the bench.

Bass and Thomas were the only two Celtics who took ten or more shots. The C's only converted 11 field goals, and shot 35 percent.
"I told them it wasn't good enough and it's not okay to walk out of here thinking that that's the best team and you have nights like this," Stevens said. "We played individual basketball on both ends of the floor the whole night, and individual basketball against these guys doesn't work, because their individuals are the best in the game. 
"So you'd better figure it out that we've got to play collectively at both ends, and the way we played is not right. It's not acceptable. If we play the right way, does that mean we're going to have a chance to win? Maybe a chance. But you play the right way anyway, because it's the right thing to do, and we didn't. 
The 31-point defeat is the season's largest for the Celtics. And last night's lost tied for the largest margin of coach Brad Stevens' NBA career. Last season, the Celtics lost at Denver to the Nuggets, 129-98.

Celtics have very little time to bounce back from this one, the C's host Gordon Hayward the Utah Jazz tonight at TD Garden. Tip-off is at 7:30.

Game Notes:

The biggest problem for the Celtics in this one was their presence in the paint. The Cavs outscored the Celtics 48-22 and were also out rebounded, 52-42. Rebounding off of missed shots is what usually sparks Cleveland's fast break offense. The Cavs scored 15 fast break points, while the Celtics struggled to get in an offensive rhythm throughout most of the game. The only solid run the Celtics put together was during garbage time minutes at the end, without that run this game would have easily been a 40-plus deficit.

Phew, that would have been embarrassing.

Josue Pavon 
Twitter: @Joe_Sway10

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