The Boston Celtics face LeBron James and his Cavaliers in Cleveland for their second matchup this season. Last time the C's were in Cleveland they were without both Jae Crowder and Al Horford. Short-handed, Boston still put up a good fight only losing by six, even rookie Jaylen Brown finished with a career-high nineteen points. If the Celtics want to win tonight they need to stay out of foul trouble, keeping players like Love, LeBron and Irving off the free throw line. The Cavs are going to get most the 50-50 calls at home, so if Boston wants to stay in the game they need to keep their composure when the whistle is going against them.

Both teams got off to fast starts, Kevin Love quickly hit three out of four from beyond the arc in the first five mintues of the game. Cleveland led 16-13 with six mintues left. In the first quarter alone these two teams shot over twenty three-point shots total. Clearly both sides want to emphasize shooting early.

At the end of one Love led all scorers with 15 points, while Boston finished with a dismal three-point percentage of 21% on 14 attempts. The Cavs finished with a 13-2 run, increasing their lead to seven.

Coming off his best game as a member of the Celtics, Gerald Green entered the game from bench to begin the second quarter and drilled two deep three-balls. Boston's physicality started to frustrate the Cleveland lineup as they started to complain to the officials about recent calls. However, both sides starting trading leads as neither team could really pull away, Cleveland led midway through the second, 44-40.

Jaylen Brown entered the game and the rookie continued his solid play in Cleveland with two nice post-moves on the much smaller Irving. The pace of the game seemed to favor the Cavs up to this point in the contest. LeBron, Irving and Love all caused issues for Boston on the defensive side of the ball. With the trio scoring 43 points combined, Brad Stevens needed to find a way to slow down the stars of the team.

Isaiah Thomas got hot in the second quarter, scoring 17 of his 19 points in a quick burst. Going into halftime the Celtics trailed the Cavs, 66-59. Notable stats worth mentioning include Cleveland's high shooting percentages (54% from the field, 45% from three). Along with Cleveland's +10 rebounding advantage over the C's. For Boston, Al Horford has been a non-factor with zero rebounds and only four points.

O This led to the first double-digit lead, forcing Stevens to call a quick timeout. Soon the game began to get out of hand fast, Cleveland continued to go on a 10-0 run. Thomas ended the Cavs burst of scoring with baskets of his own, giving him over twenty for the game.

The remainder of the third quarter was mostly a display of Cleveland's dominance over Boston's lack of size and star power. The Cavs lead kept growing as it got to as much as twenty. At the end of three quarters the Cavaliers are up on the Celtics, 101-83.

An essential part of this comeback came from the Smart-Zeller pick and roll game. Zeller took advantage of the poor play of the Celtic bigs, having his name called. Tyler scored 8 key points finishing with a +13 plus-minus, the highest of all Celtics players.

This spirited comeback was continued by the starters who were reinserted onto the floor. Jae Crowder drilled a clutch three, followed by AB stealing the inbound pass for a quick two. During a late key possession, LeBron received the most LeBron James call as he fell down but was bailed out with a questionable tripping foul. This led to him going one of two from the line, instead of a turnover and with that the Cavs has sealed their victory.

Photo Credit: Brain Babineau

Twitter: @SWTawes

Anonymous 12/29/2016 10:49:00 PM Edit
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