Final, Celtics win 103-96: Jordan Crawford got his triple-double, the Celtics held on for the victory and all is right on this Black Friday.
Crawford totaled 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his third career triple-double as the Celtics (7-11) handed the Cavs (4-12) their fifth consecutive loss. Jeff Green also had a big night with 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting, while Avery Bradley scored a rather quiet 21 points as every Celtics starter reached double digits.
Dion Waiters led Cleveland with 21 points, but most of his scoring came long after the Celtics had built their large lead and were running away with it. The Celtics won despite 17 turnovers by sharing the ball well, recording 26 assists on 38 field goals. That’s exactly twice as many assists as the Cavs had.
The Celtics have a quick turnaround for their next game on the road Saturday against the Bucks.
Fourth quarter, 1:56, Celtics 101-80: Jordan Crawford is within one point of a triple-double, and he really wants it.
Crawford banked in a wild three to give him nine points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. If he can get another point in the final two minutes, the Celtics will have an extra cherry on the top of this win — to go along with “Gino” time.
Fourth quarter, 5:52, Celtics 86-69: The Celtics are rolling along, but they’re not up by enough to just completely pack it in. Their last three or four possessions have been stagnant, just throwing the ball around the perimeter before taking a bad jumper.
A 17-point deficit certainly is not insurmountable for the Cavs if the Celtics don’t tighten this up quickly. Sullinger and the Celtics showed that with their flurry in the final four minutes on Wednesday.
Fourth quarter, 8:53, Celtics 82-62: For Celtics fans, this has been a sweet dessert to their Thanksgiving leftovers. Kris Humphries challenged Bass’ claim to the “Huh?” play of the game with a spinning and-one layup. Keith Bogans, who has missed almost the entire season with food poisoning and the flu, is even in the game.
End of third quarter, Celtics 79-58: For an idea of how this game is going, Brandon Bass just banked home a running 30-footer because he thought time was about to expire. It wasn’t. Bass had a good two more seconds to take a better shot, but it didn’t matter because it went.
Bass, who doesn’t show a ton of emotion, grinned as he came back down the court. It’s been that kind of night for the Celtics.
Third quarter, 3:12, Celtics 76-51: The Celtics are playing so well, they’ve resorted to playing 3-on-5.
After a back-and-forth sequence that saw Bradley get hit in the eye, the Celtics took the ball upcourt and Green drained a quick three. Wallace and Bradley never even had to cross halfcourt.
Third quarter, 8:29, Celtics 67-45: Big halftime leads tend to get smaller before they get bigger, but Bradley’s having none of that.
Bradley has hit three jumpers out of the break to help the Celtics extend their lead to 22 points, their largest of the game. The Celtics could be on their way to their first “Geno” game of the year if they keep this up.
Halftime, Celtics 55-39: Jeff Green and the Celtics should enjoy a nice halftime meal with the lunch money they just stole from the Cavs.
Playing probably their best first half of the season, the Celtics threatened to run away and hide from the lowly Cavs. Green has a game-high 20 points on just 10 shots, while Kyrie Irving leads the Cavs with a much more modest 13 points on 11 shots.
All things considered, this could be worse for the Cavs. They have shot just 33 percent and committed 12 turnovers, but the Celtics are handing over the ball just enough to keep this game somewhat interesting. The Celtics led by as many as 20 points but saw the Cavs cut it down to 12 points thanks to the Celtics’ 10 turnovers.
Nobody on the Cavs other than Irving has done anything notable. A starter other than Irving didn’t even score a basket until Tristan Thompson tipped home a putback in the final minute of the second quarter. The Celtics have gotten most of their scoring from Green, Bradley and Bass, who have combined for 42 of the team’s 55 points, but everyone who has played for the Celtics has contributed a little something.
Second quarter, 2:53, Celtics 47-35: If you watch any basketball, you know Anderson Varejao is one of the biggest floppers in the NBA. He tried to sell the ref on an offensive foul by Vitor Faverani.
It didn’t work.
Varejao jumped into Faverani’s outstretched arm and hit the deck with a thud, drawing a whistle — just not on Faverani. The offensive foul on Varejao perfectly summed up how this game is going for the Cavs. Although they aren’t playing as badly as the score indicates — they have whittled their deficit down to 12 points — they aren’t hitting shots and aren’t playing smart enough defense to continue to make a dent so far.
Second quarter, 5:51, Celtics 43-27: Irving is determined to make this a game again, even if he has to take 30 shots to do it.
Irving now has 12 of Cleveland’s 27 points and is attacking the basket almost every time down the floor. He is 5-for-9 from the field. The rest of his team is 6-for-25.
Second quarter, 8:55, Celtics 33-13: Normally, this could be a danger zone for the Celtics. A 20-point lead this early can be the best or worst thing for a team if complacency begins to creep in.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they’re playing the Cavs. Despite three blase minutes by the Celtics, their lead is at 20 because the Cavs remain terrible. Jeff Green in particular is being aggressive in attacking undersized defenders like Sergey Karasev and Jarrett Jack to get to the foul line.
End of first quarter, Celtics 28-10: Granted, the Cavs are not good, at all. But that was a pretty impressive 12 minutes by the Celtics.
The Celtics shot 61 percent and outrebound the Cavs 14-8, which is a minor accomplishment since rebounding is one of the few things Cleveland isn’t horrible at. The Celtics did commit six turnovers, which continues to be an issue, but holding the Cavs to just 4-for-19 from the field wipes out a lot of mistakes in the ball.
Avery Bradley leads the balanced offensive attack with eight points for the Celtics, with four other players scoring four points or more.
First quarter, 3:10, Celtics 19-4: The Cavs must have too much tryptophan in their systems, because they look half asleep out there. Dion Waiters airballs a three, then an attempted post-entry pass to Anderson Varejao just gets airmailed out of bounds into the expensive seats behind the hoop.
The Cavs are shooting 1-for-13 from the field and still don’t have a basket since Irving scored a driving layup in the opening minutes.
First quarter, 5:40, Celtics 18-2: Who do the Cavs think they are? The Celtics?
The Cavs are off to an atrocious start in the first quarter, which is usually the Celtics’ job. But everyone in the Celtics’ starting lineup is rolling except Jared Sullinger, oddly enough. Jordan Crawford just hit Jeff Green on the fastbreak for an alley-oop that will be in the highlight reels for a week.
First quarter, 8:01, Celtics 12-2: Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley came to play offensively. Everyone in a green and black jersey came to play defensively.
The Celtics are clicking in the early going with Bass and Bradley combining for 10 of the Celtics’ 12 points. On the defensive end, Bass and Bradley have also clamped down on Andrew Bynum and Kyrie Irving, respectively, holding that duo to 1-for-6 shooting. Cleveland is just 1-for-7 from the field as a team.
Sergey Karasev, making his first NBA start, got a rude welcome from Jordan Crawford. Using a Bass screen to his advantage, Crawford crossed up Karasev and drilled a step-beck jump shot to put the Celtics up by 10.
5:58 p.m.: Brad Stevens enjoyed an off day for Thanksgiving on Thursday, but just because it was a day off doesn’t mean he didn’t work.
“Just get up and work in the morning and try to finish as much as you can throughout the day so we were ready for shootaround today,” Stevens said. “The next most important thing is the next practice or the next meeting or the next shootaround, so I tried to get as much done as quickly as possible. But you’re still working like a normal in-between games.”
Stevens and the Celtics have their work cut out for them tonight, with Kyrie Irving, the Cavs’ dynamic point guard, keying the Cleveland offense. The Cavs have been a disappointment out of the gate, but Irving has been stellar once again. The third-year guard out of Duke is averaging 21.0 points, 6.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game for the underachieving Cavs.
After the Celtics had trouble containing Mike Conley’s dribble penetration on Wednesday, Irving presents a new challenge. Stevens admitted prior to the game that he has no answers for how to keep Irving out of the paint.
“If you have any suggestions, I’d like to know them,” Stevens said. “You can’t keep him out of the paint with one, usually, which is a problem. Especially when they go to their smaller lineup with [Earl] Clark at the four and they shoot it so well. When they put Irving, [Dion] Waiters, Clark and [Jarrett] Jack out there, that poses a lot of problems in handling the penetration because of the way they shoot it. Even when they have their bigs in, it poses problems because of the way they rebound it.
“It’s an issue. You’d love to be able to guard dribble penetration one-on-one but the fact of the matter is, against the best in this league, it’s hard to do.”
Avery Bradley will assume the bulk of the responsibility in bottling up Irving, although Jordan Crawford and possibly even Phil Pressey will have to spend some time on him if Courtney Lee can’t go with a sprained knee. Lee is a game-time decision.
The projected starters are below.
2:45 p.m.: The Celtics have announced that Boston will be without Kelly Olynyk tonight, and Courtney Lee is a game-time decision. Olynyk has been dealing with a sprained right ankle, and Lee has a sore left knee.
8 a.m. ET: The Celtics came this close to getting their third straight win on Wednesday. The only way to respond to the loss is to go for another three in a row.
There are few teams the Celtics (6-11) would like to see more right now than the Cavaliers (4-11). Things just haven’t panned out for the Cavs the way a lot of people thought they would. With Kyrie Irving continuing to emerge as one of the NBA’s top point guards, the Cavs figured to be in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. But while the East has been horrible, it hasn’t been bad enough for the Cavs to crack the playoff picture.
With Jared Sullinger’s monstrous fourth quarter in Wednesday’s loss to Memphis in the rearview mirror, the Celtics will try to extend Cleveland’s losing streak to five games in a post-Thanksgiving tilt.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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