Saturday, March 5, 2016

Cavaliers 120 - Celtics 103: LeBron James pushes Cavs past C's

It was exactly a month ago when the Celtics shocked the NBA and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on a buzzer beating 3-pointer at the Quicken Loans Arena. For a quarter and a half it looked liked Boston was going to run away with another win against LeBron James until they blew an 18-point lead and lost 120-103 on Saturday night.

James led all scorers with 28 points (passing Tim Duncan on the all-time scoring list at number 14), 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Kyrie Irving added 20 points while Iman Shumpert finished with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the Cavaliers' third straight win.

Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points and dished out 4 assists to lead the Celtics who were 9-3 in their last 12 games before going into Cleveland. Jared Sullinger notched his 20th double-double of the season finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Avery Bradley (5 assists) and Jae Crowder each finished with 12 points a piece in the loss.

The Celtics jumped out of the gate on fire, shooting 15-of-25 from the field (7-of-9 from behind the arc) and were up 35-22 after the first quarter. Cleveland began to play physical and forced turnovers (eight in the first half) while they cut the 18-point deficit and led 55-54 by intermission.

"We were making shots at a rate that was really good, but you're probably not going to sustain that for  a whole game," coach Brad Stevens said. "It's a long game. This is a good team. We knew we were going to have to play a lot better than the last time to win the game. We did it for a quarter instead of for four."

Boston grabbed a lead again to start the third quarter but it was short lived as LeBron James took over and the C's never got within more than seven points the rest of the way shooting 22-for-55. Frustration began to set in as it seemed like the Cavs were living at the free-throw line (26-34) and the slow pace took the Celtics out of their offensive rhythm.

"We didn't keep our poise and the refs got to us," Sullinger said. "We have to do a better job of controlling that. You've got to to let it roll off your back and kind of move on."

The Celtics will have a few days off before they host the Memphis Grizzlies (35-27) at the TD Garden on Wednesday night. Tip-off is 7:30 PM EST.

Game Notes:

Celtics made 46.3 percent of their shots (37-80) to the Cavaliers' 51.2 percent (42-82). Cleveland finished with 27 assists to Boston's 17. Kelly Olynyk missed his ninth straight game with a sore right shoulder.

Joel Pavón
Follow us on Twitter:@CausewayStreet

Picture used via: Getty Images

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