The last time Boston traveled to Cleveland, the Celtics capped off a huge comeback win, scoring eight points in the final eight seconds topped off by an Avery Bradley game winning three pointer. Not only did Bradley’s brilliance shine through, but head coach Brad Stevens orchestrated the perfect play. This time the Celtics were coming into Cleveland on a five game winning streak. Unfortunately, the outcome was different. The top seeded Cavaliers beat the Celtics handily 120-103.
The Celtics jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter, dominating play and outscoring the Cavs 35-22. Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner led the way, going 7 of 9 from the field with a combined 16 points, while the Cavs struggled mightily in finding their offensive game with their leading scorer being Timofey Mozgov with 6 points. LeBron and Kyrie failed to lead the charge, and the Cavs seemed to be on their heels for the first 8 minutes of the game. Cleveland found themselves down 18 early, but was able to close the gap by scoring the final five points of the first quarter.
The Cavs, taking their momentum from the end of the first quarter, were able to put together an incredible run, outscoring the Celtics 82-50 from the second quarter to the final 9 minutes of the game. Boston was able to close the gap to 9 with 3 minutes remaining in the game, but failed to put together a solid string of offensive possessions.
The loss ended the Celtics’ 5 game winning streak, but Isaiah Thomas continued his hot pace, scoring 27 points and adding four assists and three rebounds. Jared Sullinger had another impressive outing, recording a double-double 17 points and 13 rebounds. The Cavaliers offense was sparked by a usual suspect, LeBron James. James came just two assists shy of a triple double; scoring 28 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out eight assists.
LeBron not only had himself another great performance, but he also made history, being the third player along with Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to score at least 10 points in 700 consecutive games.
Pretty elite company.
Looking down the road, the Celtics have a tough schedule, which will surely test how battle tested the Celtics truly are for their push toward the playoffs. With upcoming games against Western Conference powerhouses like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors, the Celtics need to keep grinding if they want to hold onto the third spot in the Eastern Conference.
In regards to their in-conference foes, it might not be the last time we see the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the East being typically weaker than the West, the expectation is that they will find themselves back in the Conference finals. Although the Celtics dropped the last game in the season series and came out on the losing end of 2-1, the Celtics should be excited for their future, proving they can hang with the best.