Some final numbers that have to make coach Doc Rivers feel good:
– 36-of-72 from the floor
– 26 assists against eight turnovers
– a total of 66 points from Eddie House, Marquis Daniels, Kendrick Perkins, Lester Hudson, and Shelden Williams.
LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal combined to score 34 points to lead Cleveland, which finishes preseason play at 3-4.
It’s back to Boston for the weekend as the Celts will fine-tune things before taking on Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena next Tuesday. We’ll be live blogging it all right here, so be sure to check it out.
Final, Celtics 96-82: Well, the Cavaliers promised to play their starters quite a bit, and they did. Given that, you can consider this a real positive note for the Celtics, who close the preseason at 6-2.
“We were down three guys but still had to go in and step it up and we did,” said Rasheed Wallace, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes.
More postgame reaction to follow.
Fourth quarter, 2:37, Celtics 92-80: The Cavs were threatening to get the deficit into single digits for the first time since halftime, but Eddie House hit his third 3-pointer of the game to create a comfortable 14-point margin entering the stretch run.
House has a game-high 19 points in 19-plus minutes.
Fourth quarter, 4:42, Celtics 89-78: It’s getting a tad sloppy out there with both teams rushing some shots.
Rasheed Wallace is still in for the Celtics, approaching the 30-minute mark. He does have five fouls.
Anthony Parker has been pretty quiet so far for the Cavs but just buried a fadeaway to pull them within 11.
Fourth quarter, 8:40, Celtics 87-72: A steal and layup by Eddie House push the lead back up to 15.
House follows that up with a bad miss on a short jumper and then a missed 3-pointer, but still has 16 points, second to Daniels.
It appears as if LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal have called it a night, both shown laughing it up on the sidelines. How the two jell is one of the stories to watch this year in the NBA. Shaq, for one, looked as if he was moving pretty well tonight and James leads the Cavs with 18 points.
End of third quarter, Celtics 82-68: The Cavs closed the quarter on a 16-9 run, but still face an uphill climb to satisfy the Columbus crowd.
The Celtics have to love what they are seeing from Marquis Daniels. After scoring 17 points at New York the night before, he is leading the team with 16 through three tonight and is looking very comfortable with his new teammates.
Entering the fourth, Boston has only six turnovers.
If this was against any other team, you might see a bit of cruise control, but I’m sensing there is a small message both teams are looking to send before Tuesday’s opener. Expect a relatively intense final quarter of the preseason.
Third quarter, 3:40, Celtics 74-60: Just to deliver on an earlier promise, both Shelden Williams and Mo Williams received a technical foul for the skirmish.
The Celts’ Williams just took a nice feed from Rajon Rondo to push the lead back up to 16.
Third quarter, 6:28, Celtics 72-52: It’s now a 16-4 burst out of the gates for Boston. I hate to beat a dead horse, but the Celts are now shooting 61 percent from the floor and have 20 assists on 27 hoops.
Third quarter, 9:33, Celtics 64-50: Some of the Celtics were standing to start the second half along the sideline and urging their teammates to start strong, apparently juiced from the Williams-Williams shoving match.
It appears the intensity has carried onto the court. The Celts have opened the third on an 8-2 run, capped by a basket by Marquis Daniels.
It was just announced that Glen Davis has not been in for the C’s due to a bruised lower back suffered Tuesday night in New York.
Halftime: We’re about set to tip for the second half. We’ll see if the skirmish before halftime leads to anything. My guess is no — these teams will have plenty of opportunities to hash out their differences over the next six months or so.
End of second quarter, Celtics 56-48: Not what Doc Rivers or Mike Brown wanted to see. The first half ends on an ugly note as Shelden Williams shoves Mo Williams after the horn.
The two were quickly separated and the teams left for the locker room before any punches could be thrown. I’ll update any technicals or ejections when I get them.
As for the half, both teams were clicking offensively. They shot a collective 55 percent from the floor.
Paul Pierce played sparingly in the second but still leads the C’s with 11 points at the break. Lester Hudson buried a pair of 3-pointers in nine minutes of play. And Marquis Daniels had 10 points and five assists for the Celts.
The Lebron James-Shaquille O’Neal tandem combined for 27 for Cleveland.
Second quarter, 2:46, Celtics 49-44: The Celtics are getting a heavy dose, no pun intended, of Shaquille O’Neal right now. The big man has scored six straight points, taking roughly eight steps along the baseline on one, yet avoiding the whistle.
Shaq started the run with a spin move that left Rasheed Wallace wondering what had happened.
Second quarter, 5:59, Celtics 44-33: Kendrick Perkins is all over the place, in both a positive and negative manner.
The 6-foot-10 Perkins just finished a pretty pick-and-roll with Eddie House, buried a 16-footer and then committed his third foul less than halfway through the second.
Second quarter, 8:56, Celtics 40-29: A jumper by Eddie House gives the Celtics their largest lead and forces Cavs coach Mike Brown to call a timeout.
Boston is now shooting 59 percent and has 11 assists against just one turnover.
Second quarter, 10:15, Celtics 36-29: Right on cue, Daniels and Williams both hit jumpers in the early-going of the second and the team is shooting 58 percent (14-for-24).
End of first quarter, Celtics 32-22: A couple of great signs for the Celts in the first quarter. Pierce, as mentioned, appears ready for the real season to begin. He buried two 3-pointers and finished the quarter with 11 points.
The club had eight assists against just one turnover.
Marquis Daniels had a nifty up-and-under with about a minute left and ended the first with eight points, three assists and two rebounds.
And if Shelden Williams can bury 17-footers as he did before the end of the quarter, the Celts’ second unit will look great.
First quarter, 3:38, Celtics 19-16: It seems Pierce is making the most of what should be limited minutes. He has eight points in the first eight-plus minutes.
Before the commercial break, Rajon Rondo made a steal at halfcourt and drove the length of the floor, only to be reminded that LeBron James exists. James swatted Rondo’s layup into the seats.
Think Karch Kiraly, 1984 Summer Olympics, men’s volleyball. In other words, James literally spiked the ball, much to the delight of the Cavs fans.
First quarter, 5:53, 11-11: That didn’t take long. Kendrick Perkins has picked up his first technical foul of the game after not getting a foul call on a put-back attempt. Earlier, Perkins, who was third in the league last year with 12 technicals, had a nice basket on a fast break that gave the Celtics a one-point advantage.
7:10 p.m.: Paul Pierce is in the Celtics’ starting lineup and we are underway in Columbus.
7:00 p.m.: We’re minutes from tip at Value City Arena, which is sold out for tonight’s game. Check back soon for all the in-game action.
6:20 p.m.: It?s safe to say yours truly is still in preseason form, having said earlier that the site of tonight?s Celtics-Cavaliers preseason tilt is Quicken Loans Arena. The game is actually being played at Value City Arena in Columbus, about a two-hour drive from the Cavs? home.
Fittingly, a venue that normally sees college ball will be graced with plenty of players just hoping to make an NBA roster this season, at least on the Celtics side. As noted, C?s coach Doc Rivers has promised to give his starters rest in this final preseason game, a strategy apparently not shared by Cavaliers coach Mike Brown — the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has reported that Brown will give LeBron James and Shaquille O?Neal plenty of playing timeCleveland has dealt with several injuries during the preseason and Brown wants to get some sort of rhythm.
Those itching for a more suitable matchup between the rivals will have to wait until Tuesday, when the teams open the regular season on national TV. I?m positive that one will be played in Cleveland.
For the Celtics, forwards Brian Scalabrine (ankle) and Michael Sweetney (flu-like symptoms) are out tonight. Look for plenty of Lester Hudson, Shelden Williams, Eddie House and Glen Davis.
Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are the lone Celtics starters expected to see any significant playing time.
Cavs fans, many of whom cite the Sports Illustrated cover curse for their playoff exit last season (the magazine had featured the Cavs prior to their season-ending series with Orlando) have to be a bit uneasy today. James and O?Neal grace the NBA preview issue, released today, although SI picks the Celtics to knock off Cleveland en route to their 18th championship.
In other Cavs news, former Celtics guard Delonte West, who has been treated for bipolar disorder and had not played this preseason in the wake of gun possession charges, dressed but did not play for Cleveland on Tuesday. Brown gave no indication when West will move back into the club?s regular rotation.
8 a.m.: Six days before the Celtics and Cavaliers open the regular season in Cleveland, they meet Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena in the preseason finale for both teams. We will be here live blogging the final tuneup so be sure to follow along.
Do not expect to see the usual dose of star power in this one, however. The Celtics gave their regulars a good run last night in New York, where each starter played at least 23 minutes in a 108-103 loss that dropped the C’s to 5-2 on the preseason.
Rajon Rondo led the way with 20 points and seven assists for Boston.
Coach Doc Rivershad told reporters on Sunday that he would give his starters quality minutes against the Knicks but on “Wednesday we’re going to throttle back,” implying a heavy dose of J.R. Giddens and Lester Hudson.
The Cavaliers are coming off a 96-66 rout of Dallas on Tuesday night. Mo Williams had 16 points and 11 assists against a Mavericks team that played most of its reserves. LeBron James scored 12 points on just 3-of-13 shooting for the 3-3 Cavs.
For what it’s worth, the Celts have lost 11 straight games here between the regular season and postseason. Their last win in Cleveland was on Dec. 18, 2004.