Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Cavaliers 105, Celtics 104: Fourth quarter collapse snaps Boston's 11-game win streak

The Celtics fell to the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers 105-104 Tuesday night at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, suffering their first defeat in over a month to snap an 11-game win streak.

The loss, was due in large part to a lopsided fourth quarter, where the Cavs outscored the C's 34-17, despite being without their All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell in the contest.

Boston led by as much as 20 to start the final frame, which was their largest margin, before Cleveland went on a 32-6 run. 

The Cavaliers were ice cold in the first half, shooting 31% from the field at intermission. After struggling offensively most of the night, Cleveland burned the nets down in the fourth, going 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, while the Celtics went 0-of-8 from deep in the fourth. 

Dean Wade was the catalyst for the Cavs, draining three after three and ended up with 20 of his 23 points in the fourth, while shooting 8-of-11 overall including 6-of-11 from long distance and also the game winning putback dunk in the final 19 seconds.

The Celtics had a chance to win the game after Wade's putback and being down by one with the ball. Jayson Tatum went for a mid range fadeaway with 1.7 seconds left on the clock that fell well short, but a foul was called on Darius Garland. Cleveland then challenged the foul call, which ended up being overturned, resulting in a jump ball at midcourt with 0.7 seconds on the game clock. 

On what turned out to be the Celtics' final play, Tatum took the clock nearly all the way down before attempting the fadeaway jumper.
"Probably should have went a little faster," Tatum told reporters of the last possession, "just in case some shit like that happens, maybe we have more time, maybe we have another opportunity."
Outside of Wade's 23 points off the bench -- which was only his second 20-point game of the season to lead all Cavalier scorers, Jarrett Allen poured in 21 points on 9-of-16 and grabbed 12 rebounds as well. Garland added 16 points, 11 assists and Issac Okorio also netted 16 for Cleveland, who improved to 40-21 on the season.

For the Celtics, Tatum was initially on fire with 22 points in the first half on 7-of-9 shooting, but went frigid in the last two quarters going only 1-of-12 from the field.
"They got into him, they pressured him," coach Joe Mazzulla said of Cleveland's second half adjustment on guarding Tatum, "they definitely crowded him and made him put the ball on the floor."
Tatum finished the game with 26 points and 13 rebounds on 8-of-21 overall from the field and 5-of-9 from three point land, while Jaylen Brown also struggled on 8-of-20 shooting to score 21 points.

Kristaps Porzingis, who chipped in 24 points on 9-of-18 from the floor with nine rebounds and three blocks, took an optimistic view of the outcome despite the loss.
"It was a good loss for us. It's healthy for us. We do have the feeling that pretty much we're going to win every game, we're invincible, a little bit of that feeling is always there, it may be healthy, but it’s also healthy to get a loss here and there."
Boston (48-13) will look to bounce back in a potential NBA Finals preview against the defending champion Denver Nuggets (42-20) at Ball Arena Thursday night in a 10 pm ET tip-off on TNT.

Game Notes:

Boston was 41.9% from the field, included 15-of-38 (39.5%) from long distance, while the Cavaliers were 43.3% from the floor and 20-of-42 (47.6%) from 3. The Celtics out-rebounded the home team 53-42 and outscored them in the paint 48-32. Cleveland dished out 28 assists (nine turnovers) on 39 baskets and the C's had 24 dimes (13 turnovers) also on 39 made shots. 

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of USA Today


  1. I don’t have to go to a game or watch the game Your descriptions and use of language make me feel as though I’m in a nail biter live Love your work

  2. Celtics still best in the league. Off night