BOSTON — Ray Allen scored a
season-high 33 points, hitting his sixth 3-pointer to give the Celtics a
four-point lead with 48 seconds left, and Boston held on despite 42
points from LeBron James to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113 on
The win snapped a three-game home
losing streak for Boston, and it kept the Cavaliers from clinching
home-court advantage for the entire postseason.
James scored 20 in the fourth quarter,
when the Cavs erased a 17-point lead and took their first lead at
104-103 with 2:58 left. But he missed two free throws in the last 16
seconds and a 3-point attempt on a fast break with 3.2 seconds left when
a 2-pointer would have tied it.
James was 0-for-9 from 3-point range,
including a meaningless, unguarded shot at the final buzzer that bounced
off the rim. Afterward, he and Kevin Garnett exchanged dirty looks — a
fitting end to a game that featured six technicals and Cleveland coach
Mike Brown's ejection.
Garnett scored 19 points, Paul Pierce
had 16 and Kendrick Perkins had 10 points and 10 rebounds to help Boston
even the season series with Cleveland at 2-2. If the standings hold and
the favorites prevail, the Celtics and Cavaliers would meet in the
second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Antawn Jamison scored 16 points with
10 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had 14 and 11 for Cleveland, which would
earn home-court advantage through the NBA finals with its next win or
the next Los Angeles Lakers loss. The Lakers played the San Antonio
Spurs later Sunday.
Cleveland lost for just the third time
in its last 20 games.
The Celtics led by eight in the
opening minutes and 15 at the half when Rajon Rondo, after taking an
inbounds pass with 2.5 seconds left, hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Boston led 98-81 at the end of three, but Cleveland scored 23 of the
first 28 points in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics snapped out of it just in
Cleveland led 108-107 when Garnett
hit a pair of free throws, and then Pierce threw cross-court pass to
Allen, who shot over a lunging Anthony Parker to make it 112-108. Tony
Allen was called for goaltending on a 3-pointer (though replays showed
he pulled down the rebound after it had bounced away from the rim).
Tony Allen then made a layup, and on
Cleveland's next possession James was fouled and made one of two free
throws, leaving the Celtics ahead 114-112 with 16 seconds left. James
missed another foul shot with 11 seconds left that would have trimmed
the lead to one point, and then after pulling down a rebound and leading
a fast break, he fired up a 3 that clanged off the rim.
James finished 14-of-31 from the
floor, but he made just one of 15 shots from more than 15 feet and was 8-for-22 from the free throw line.
Mo Williams scored 17 points for
Cleveland, hitting all of his six shots — including three from 3-point
range. He did not play in the fourth quarter.
When Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn't
trying to figure out how to stop the Cavs, he was trying to keep order
on his own bench. Forward Rasheed Wallace picked up a technical foul
with 50 seconds left in the third quarter — his 17th of the season,
according to STATS Inc. — and began yelling at Rivers when the coach
took him out.
Wallace did not return to the game.
Brown was ejected after drawing two
technicals midway through the third quarter. He picked up the first when
he argued about a technical given to Williams for arguing a non-call,
then angrily stormed onto the court and was quickly tossed by referee
Ray Allen shot the free throws and
made all three, giving Boston an 83-62 lead.
Celtics F Glen Davis went into
the stands twice for crowd-pleasing attempts to save the ball. …
James and Rondo also picked up technicals.