Instant Reaction: Boston Celtics 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 100

Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Final Outcome

After the second quarter (where the Cavaliers were outscored 35-22) Cleveland looked as if it might be on its way to another drubbing at the hands of the Celtics in Boston. But, behind a big scoring night from Kyrie Irving and key production from the bench, the Cavaliers slowly battled back and made the game competitive and close. The Wine & Gold came all the way back from 19 down to get the game back within two, but in the end, could not complete the comeback, giving Boston a 103-100 victory. The loss was the 19th of the Cavaliers season and their 13th on the road.

Key Play to the Game

With the Cavaliers down two, Dion Waiters found himself matched up with Brandon Bass, the Celitcs forward. Sensing a chance to attack the rim and either A) blow by his bigger, slower defender and/or B) get fouled, the Cavaliers sixth man attacked the rim. And instead of getting up a clean shot or getting fouled, Waiters was stuffed. In the ensuing scramble, with the clock winding down, the Cavaliers waited to foul a Celtic (Avery Bradley) until there was only a shade under two seconds left to play. And, after Bradley missed one of two free throws, Earl Clark ended up having the ball in his hands on the final inbounds of the game.

Notice whose name I didn’t mention there? Not getting the ball in Irving’s hands with the game in the balance might be the biggest mistake the Cavaliers made all day.

Wine & Gold MVP

Who else would win this but one Kyrie Irving? He was the one Cavalier who came to play from the tip and played over 40 minutes, finishing with 32 points.  He was also efficient, taking only 22 shots (making 13 of them) and going four of six from behind the arc. Irving was also one of only three Cavaliers (himself, Anthony Bennett and Dion Waiters) to have a positive +/- score against the Celtics. Some will nitpick the fact had the fact that Irving only and three assists, but in the end, without him scoring as much as he did, the Cavaliers aren’t in this game at all. That’s a fact.

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Coach Brown Breakdown

Brown easily could have came out and coached a distracted game today considering what is going on with Bynum, but he didn’t. He stuck with lineups when they were effective and rewarded young players (i.e. Bennett and Tyler Zeller) for playing hard and doing something while on the floor. He also gave Jarrett Jack 31 minutes when Jack actually deserved to play 31 minutes. The one downside I saw was keeping Tristan Thompson out of the game when the game was close in the last few minutes. Bennett played well, but he can’t rebound and had no success boxing out his Celtics counterparts. I think Thompson was the right man for that situation. But all in all, I’d give Brown a “B” or “B-” for his job tonight.

Up Next

The Cavaliers will travel home to take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow at Quicken Loans Arena. The Warriors, currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference, have a winning percentage of 58.1 percent, are tied for third in the NBA in pace and feature a solid wing trio of point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson and small forward Andre Iguodala. Tip-off for Andrew Bynum FatHead night is at 6 PM.

Topics: Cleveland Cavaliers, Dion Waiters, Kyrie Irving

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