Kyrie Irving stood on top of the key in the last minute with his eyes behind a mask, still, staring down the NBA’s Eastern Conference starting point guard Rajon Rondo. After a little shake, rattle and roll, Irving took the ball right getting Rondo on his left hip, and laid the ball up off the glass for an and-one; ensuring a Cavaliers’ victory, 95-90.
This game was Boston’s fourth straight loss and gave Cleveland back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.
Irving made an All-Star statement tonight scoring 40 points on 16-of-24 shooting from the field. Everything he touched turned into gold. Tonight his partner in crime was Tristan Thompson who had 21 points and nine rebounds. Somewhere out there, Chris Grant was smiling.
This game was won in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t easy. Irving scored 11 points in the final three minutes.
Byron Scott sent out Luke Walton and Alonzo Gee in the final minutes to go up against Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to close the game out and ensure a Cavaliers’ victory. Walton was an unsung hero in tonight’s game. Irving’s stats stick out on paper, but what was the most surprising stat of the night were Walton’s seven assists.
Tonight the Cavs ruled the paint, outscoring the Celtics 46-28 in the paint. This is an encouraging stat to hear for a young team. They have settled for too many three-point shots and haven’t gotten into the paint for easier shots. As a team, the Cavs shot 2-of-12 (17 percent) from beyond the arc.
Dion Waiters found himself back in the starting lineup with C.J. Miles ill. The transition back into the starting rotation didn’t come easy for Waiters tonight. His shooting struggles continued tonight, as he went 3-of-12 from the field, scoring seven points.
Rondo had a good game tonight with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. He lacked the support of his teammates. Pierce and Garnett combined for 28 points and shot 8-of-28 from the field.
The Cavaliers caused the Celtics to commit 16 turnovers; along with that, they held the Celtics to 38 percent shooting from the field.
This was an uplifting win for the Cavs who just finalized a four-player trade. The Cavs receive three new players, who are expected to be in town tomorrow, and are expected to make a contribution.
They will look to build momentum heading into the All-Star break in February. The team will take the court next on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks at home. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.