On a day designated to honor one of the all-time greats in franchise history, the Celtics were unable to come away with a win for both themselves and the man of the hour, Paul Pierce.
Despite completely overhauling their roster just days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked like a team in no need of extra time to gel. Instead, the Cavs rolled into Boston on Sunday and proved that, at least for now, they are still the big brother in this rivalry.
LeBron James led the way with nearly his third-straight triple-double, scoring 24 points in addition to 8 rebounds and 10 assists in what was ultimately a 121-99 win for the visiting Cavaliers.
It wasn’t always bad as the Celtics held a small 32-31 lead after the first quarter. But things took a turn for the worst around midway through the second, when Boston committed three-straight ill-advised turnovers that gave Cleveland life offensively.
Two of those miscues occurred on cross-court passes, mostly a massive no-no in basketball but even more so with guys like James and co. lurking for interceptions. The Cavaliers went on to outscore the Celtics 33-20 in the quarter and took a 12-point, 64-52, lead into the locker room.
Not much changed in the second half. Cleveland kept its foot on the gas in the third and got some big contributions in the latter half of the period from a few of their new guys. With 3:11 left, James set up Jordan Clarkson for a three that put the Cavs up by 20. Forty seconds later, Rodney Hood canned a three of his own to add to Cleveland’s onslaught.
Clarkson, Hood and Larry Nance Jr. kept the pressure on the Celtics defense in the fourth, combining to score 11 of the Cavs 26 points in the frame.
In the end, Boston would give up 121 points to the Cavs, the most they’ve allowed any team to score all season. The Celtics are now 1-3 in their last four games and will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday when they host the Los Angeles Clippers.