Paul Pierce was as distraught as he's ever been (at least this season) after he and his Boston Celtics blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in an 88-87 defeat on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. Pierce, who finished with 18 points, missed the potential game-winning basket as time expired and was naturally very unhappy.
Now, it's time for a little revenge. Pierce and the C's head to Cleveland to take on the same Cavs in the finale of a home-and-home series at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).
Cleveland has now beaten Boston in back-to-back season series openers, doing so last year as well in the team's first game of the post-LeBron James era. However, the Celtics rebounded to win the final two meetings and win the series.
In Sunday's debacle, Ray Allen led all Celtics with 22 points in his return from a left ankle injury that caused him to miss three games. Kevin Garnett had 14 points, Brandon Bass added 13 points and three players scored four off the bench for Boston, which outshot Cleveland (52.2 percent to 43.0 percent) despite their defeat.
Kyrie Irving was the hero for Cleveland, beating Avery Bradley for the game-winning layup with 2.6 seconds left in the game. Irving finished with a game-high 23 points and had six assists and four rebounds. Anderson Varejao added 18 points and nine rebounds, Alonzo Gee scored 14 off the bench and Antawn Jamison finished with 10 points in victory.
Clearly, revenge is the driving factor in this one. Plain and simple, the C's want payback.