The Cavaliers survived a late push to top the Celtics.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 124-118 on TNT on Thursday night. The matchup pitted the heavy Eastern Conference favorites against one of the few teams with a hope of beating them. The Cavaliers stepped up to the challenge, bouncing back from the Monday loss to the Pistons. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love lead the team to victory, each had a double double, but overall the Cavaliers put on a stellar offensive showing.
The first half was dominated by the Cavaliers. The Wine and Gold scored 32 and 34 points in the first and second quarters respectively and held a seven-point halftime lead. The second half was not much different. The Cavaliers came out of the locker room on fire and took the lead all the way up to 19 with three minutes left in the third quarter. The Cavaliers passed the hundred point mark before the game even got to the fourth quarter.
The Celtics made a push to begin the fourth quarter, cutting the Cavs lead all the way to one. The Cavaliers seemed to have thought they had the game in the bag but the Celtics never gave in. However, the come back attempt fell short as the Cavaliers turned it back on and closed out the game to secure their twenty fourth victory of the season.
Despite the Cavaliers struggles in the fourth quarter it was pretty clear that the Celtics were outmatched for much of this game. For all his talents Celtics coach Brad Stevens could not draw up a defense to stop the Easts best team. The Celtics were out rebounded badly by the Cavs, Kevin Love had as many first half rebounds as Boston’s entire starting lineup. Hyped free agent signing Al Horford did not grab his first rebound in this game until there was 4:56 left in the third quarter.
The big three led the Cavs in this one: Kyrie Irving was spectacular, finishing with 32 points and 12 assists, Kevin Love chipped in 30 and 15 boards and LeBron James just missed a triple-double with 23 points, 11 assists and eight boards despite eight turnovers on the night.
This game showed just how far Jae Crowder and company have to go before posing a true threat to Cleveland. The Celtics issues limiting the Cavaliers on the offensive end is not new; the last time the Cavaliers played the Celtics they put up 128 points.
The Cavaliers are next in action Saturday at Charlotte.