Celtics don't let Cavaliers come back, win 103-91

Mark L. Baer / USATODAY Sports
It was clear that something was wrong with the Celtics team (especially their defense without KG), and thus came tonight the most significant lineup shake-up this year which sent KG back to 4 and started Collins at 5. It turned out that move wasn't a bad one as the Celtics rode 40 points (to go with 8 rebounds and 5 assists) from Paul Pierce to beat the Varejao-less Cavaliers 103-91.

Celtics started the game on Rondo's shoulders and played great thanks to [insert any superlative here] shooting from Pierce (13-16 FG, 6-7 3PT, 8-8 FT, seriously) until late in the 3rd quarter when they blew a lead of 20 points in usual fashion as they have decided to settle for jump shots for a brief period of time. That thankfully changed mid-4th quarter as Celtics have regained their aggressiveness and didn't let this one slip from their hands.

I had listed three conditions for the Celtics to win tonight earlier in the day. The first one was satisfied as Varejao was inactive, and even though Zeller provided a great backup in terms of points, the rebounding threat was successfully avoided. The second one was also mostly satisfied. Irving had an average scoring number but was held without an assist. Waiters was decent but Miles was simply absent, which definitely helped. The Celtics bench (who were without Terry as he started for Lee yet in another change at the 2 this year) once again failed to contribute as they barely outscored the Cavs' bench 15-14. We'll probably have to wait until Bradley returns and Terry, as a bench player, is given more incentive with the ball to sort that issue since Green and Lee continue to be inconsistent.

This wasn't the best test to see whether moving Garnett to the 4 will help and nor will Pierce's performance tonight be repeated for a while, yet it still feels good to win and get out of that slump. The Celtics will close the week against the Bucks in their 1231384th matchup this season on Friday.