Celtics hold on late, get revenge on Cleveland 93-90

Holding on, after accumulating a 20-point lead, late against the Cavaliers allowed Boston to extract revenge on the Cavaliers, 93-90, who stole one in Boston on Sunday night.  Anderson Varejao was the story of the night with his 20-20 performance, which included 10 offensive rebounds.

Cleveland wasted no time in setting the tempo early led by Kyrie Irving and Ramon Sessions attacking the basket.  Boston continues to over play the screens leading to easy lay ups and dunks for Cleveland’s bigs.  Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, Mickael Pietrus is raining threes.

Tonight it is 70’s night at the Quicken Loans arena.  When you lose the best player in the league, you become a terrible team.  When you are a terrible team, you have to figure out ways to get the fans to come out, even if that means rocking bell bottoms and an afro.

The Celtics bench has come alive in the second quarter pushing the Celtics lead to double digits with contributions from Mickael, E’Twaun Moore, Sasha Pavlovic and Brandon Bass.  With Jermane returning, the bench gets that much more better.  A 9-2 run to start the second quarter is exactly what the Celtics need to carry momentum from the first quarter.

The second half started exactly how Doc drew it up.  Great defense has lead to fast breaks, which have got everyone involved.  The ball movement and unselfishness has given Boston a 19 point lead half way through the third quarter.  They have 19 assists on 26 made baskets this game.

Tommy Heinsohn talks about never playing zone.  What they did was they gambled more and rotated.  If Sam Jones gambled and missed, then Bill Russell would step in and pick up the defense on the basketball.  What the Celtics are doing is using an actual zone while the person closest to the ball would pop out and defend.

The Celtics have relaxed into a jump shooting team in the fourth quarter, which allowed Cleveland to put a dent into the big lead.  Boston’s lack of effort on defense and no commitment to boxing out has resulted in lay ups for Kyrie Irving and rebound after rebound from Anderson Varejao. 

The lack of rebounding is hurting the Celtics.  They once led that category, now have been out rebounded by 10 with three minutes in the game.  The lead has been cut down to 5 points due to Cleveland’s rebounding and offensive aggression.  Boston continues to settle for jump shots instead of attacking the basket.

Paul Pierce finally plays the aggressor for the Celtics but seems to have landed awkwardly after being fouled.  Boston has been playing man defense during this run and continue to allow offensive rebounds for Cleveland, who now have 13 offensive, 10 of them belonging to Anderson Varejao.  Cleveland trails by two points with 1:18 remaining in the game.  I have déjà vu.

Kevin Garnett scores two and Tommy Heinsohn begs for one defensive stop, which seem hard to come by in this fourth quarter for Boston.  The Cavaliers have scored 29 points in the fourth quarter thus far.  Every ball that has gone out of bounds has resulted in an official review.  The last 10 game seconds have been approximately 5 human minutes with these official reviews.   No real score change outside of Kyrie’s buzzer beater three pointer and Boston was able to hold onto the lead.