Celtics 86, Cavaliers 83: Ray Allen, C's Overcome Kyrie Irving In Cleveland

Ray Allen led the team with 22 points and hit two key free throws in the closing seconds as the Boston Celtics overcame a late surge from Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers to win 86-83 on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

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Celtics Vs. Cavaliers Final Score: Boston Squeaks Out 86-83 Victory

Ray Allen scored a team-leading 22 points to help the Boston Celtics squeak by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 86-83, in their first game back from the All-Star break on Tuesday evening at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.

Despite coughing the ball up 17 times, the Celtics overcame themselves. Boston (16-17) made 33-of-74 field goals (44.6 percent) and had a 27-18 advantage in assists in the win, which snapped their five-game losing streak.

Kevin Garnett chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds and Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass, who was making his return from a knee injury, finished with 12 points. Bass was 6-of-12 from the field and had seven rebounds. Chris Wilcox made his impact off the bench, amassing five points and 11 rebounds. Mickael Pietrus added nine points.

Kyrie Irving was dominant in the second half for Cleveland (13-19) and finished with a game-high 24 points and three assists as the Cavs shot 39.7 percent. Ramon Sessions and Tristan Thompson scored 13 apiece and Omri Casspi scored 10.

Cleveland opened up with four straight points, but Garnett fueled a 9-0 run with six points of his own to put Boston up by five. Later in the quarter, the C's went on an 11-0 run and led by 13 points after one. Boston had its lead up to as many as 16 points in the opening half, but the Cavs closed the gap by outscoring them 23-25 in the second quarter to climb back.

Another strong quarter put Cleveland in front 66-64 after the third quarter, in which Cleveland again outscored Boston, 28-21. Ever persistent, the Cavs kept themselves in the game thanks to Irving's dominant fourth quarter. Cleveland led 81-80 with 1:21 to go and Allen had a chance to erase the deficit with a corner three, but he was off target. A late turnover proved costly for Cleveland, as KG recorded a steal and chucked the ball to Allen for the go-ahead layup with a minute left.

A reversed turnover call gave the Cavs another chance with nearly 30 seconds to play, and Irving nearly recaptured the lead after splitting the Celtics defense, but he missed the layup. On the other end, Garnett missed a jumper but got his rebound and was fouled. KG made both free throws, putting the Cs up 84-81 with 3.9 ticks remaining.

After a timeout, Cleveland inbounded the ball to Irving, who was immediately fouled by Rondo. Irving made both free throws, again trimming the Celtics lead to one point, 84-83, with 3.5 seconds to play. Allen drained two free throws after another timeout, putting Boston up by two with only 2.4 seconds remaining. Needing a three, Anthony Parker missed a desperation jumper at the buzzer, sealing a Celtics victory.

Boston won't have long to rest, as it hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.


Final - 2.28.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Boston Celtics 28 15 21 22 86
Cleveland Cavaliers 15 23 28 17 83

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Celtics Vs. Cavaliers Halftime Score: Boston Holding Steady, Up 43-38

Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett paced the Boston Celtics in the early stages, powering the C's out to a 16-point lead, but the Cleveland Cavaliers closed the gap in the second quarter but still trail 43-38 at halftime on Tuesday night.

Allen finished the half with 10 points and Garnett had 12 points and four boards in the half for Boston, which shot 53.1 percent. Brandon Bass, who is making his return from a knee injury, had 10 points on an impressive 5-of-6 shooting.

Kyrie Irving, who left the game late in the second quarter with a right elbow contusion but returned to the bench before the intermission, finished the half with five points and three assists. Ramon Sessions scored nine off the bench to lead Cleveland, which was held to 37.5 percent shooting.



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Kyie Irving Injury: Cavaliers Guard Leaves Game In Second Quarter

Hearts sank in Cleveland on Tuesday night when up-and-coming rookie point guard Kyrie Irving left the game with an apparent right arm injury and was in visible pain late in the second quarter of the Cavaliers' game against the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena.

Irving suffered the injury while taking a charge from Celtics' forward Paul Pierce under the Cavs basket. Pierce fell on Irving and rolled over Irving, who got up and ran to the sidelines. Irving returned to the floor a few minutes later and was smiling. The Cavaliers are calling Irving's injury an elbow contusion. No word on whether or not he will return to the game.

Irving as the MVP of this year's Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Orlando. Irving is averaging 18.1 points on 47.6 percent shooting and 5.1 assists in 28 games this season for Cleveland.

For Celtics and Cavaliers coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Fear The Sword.

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Celtics Vs. Cavaliers: Previewing The Game With Fear The Sword

Conrad Kaczmarek of Fear The Sword, the official Cleveland Cavaliers blog on the SB Nation network, took some time to answer five questions about Tuesday's game. Questions are in bold, answers below.

At one point in the not-so-distant past, the Celtics and Cavaliers were on top of the Eastern Conference. Needless to say, that has changed. Both teams are struggling for survival, with the Celtics barely hanging onto a playoff spot and very close to approaching the dreaded rebuilding stage. Which team has the brighter future in rebuilding, at least over the next five to seven years?

Fear The Sword: Not to sound like a homer, but it's the Cavaliers and I don't think it's particularly close. The Celtics are approaching that dreaded area of being just okay enough to not get a good draft pick but not good enough to do anything in the playoffs. Next season, with Garnett and Allen coming off of the books, they'll be left with Pierce and Rondo on their roster. Those two guys are probably good enough that they'll keep Boston out of the lottery, especially in the East. In my opinion, Rondo isn't the type of guy that you can build a franchise around, and unless Boston hits it big in free agency, he and Pierce are preventing the C's from drafting that kind of franchise guy. That's a pretty sticky situation.

The Cavaliers already went through their awful season last year, and were appropriately compensated in the draft. Kyrie Irving seems to be the ultimately prize, a true franchise cornerstone. In that sense, the Cavaliers already have the hardest part done - getting their franchise player. After that, you need to draft well and make some smart trades and FA signings to assemble a complete team. There is a very limited supply of franchise players in the NBA and having one is essential to being a true contender. What separates the two rebuilding efforts in my mind is that the Cavs seem to have their guy, while the Celtics are likely still looking.

Kyrie Irving has proven himself to be, well, awesome. It's pretty clear that the Cavs made the right choice in taking him No. 1 overall over Derrick Williams (could you imagine?). Alas, just like LeBron couldn't (sorry for the LeBron mention), Kyrie can't win it all by himself. What players in the league now would be nice (and realistic) compliments for the future of Cleveland basketball?

Fear The Sword: Now, these things probably won't happen, but the Cavs will have a bunch of cap room at the end of the season. THe two guys that I'd really like to see in wine and gold are Eric Gordon and/or Wilson Chandler. I'm assuming that the Cavs will get either a SG or SF in the upcoming draft, so if they were able to fill the remaining spot with one of those guys, they'd be in pretty great shape. Allow me to fantasize for a minute, but if the 2012-13 Cavs came out with an opening day roster of Kyrie Irving-Bradley Beal-Wilson Chandler-Tristan Thompson-Anderson Varejao -- that's probably a playoff team that has its core in place for the next 3 or 4 years.

On to the draft, where all indications are that the Cavs should have a lottery pick, potentially a high one. Which players in particular would you like to see Cleveland go after come the draft this summer?

Fear The Sword: Obviously there are some players at the very top of the draft that seem to be out of the Cavs range at this point. I didn't expect Cleveland to be this close to the playoffs and would truthfully prefer if they'd have more losses to get a surefire top-5 pick. Regardless, this draft is so deep that they should still be able to come away with a really solid player. At their current range, the guy that I want the most is Bradley Beal out of Florida. He's a shooting guard that draws favorable comparisons to a young Ray Allen. As a Celtics fan, tell me that that type of player wouldn't be phenomenal next to one of the best young point guards in the NBA. If we don't get Beal, I will cry, and then turn my attention to another possible SG such as Jeremy Lamb from UCONN or any number of big men, like Cody Zeller, Perry Jones, and Meyers Leonard.

Back to LeBron (again, sorry). Being the biggest star in the game, anything he says gets blown up. Like his comments of possibly going back to Cleveland one day. Any validity in that, you think? And if so, would you even want him back?

Fear The Sword: I think there is some validity. I legitimately think he hates being hated. He does not want to come back to his hometown and get booed like there's no tomorrow. If he truly isn't happy in Miami, I can absolutely see him wanting to come back. Now, just because he's potentially unhappy in Miami right now, doesn't mean he'll be unhappy when he can actually opt out of his contract. I think most Cavs fans (myself included) want to sound like the big tough guy and essentially tell him to buzz off, but that's probably not the truth. Cleveland fans are so incredibly starved for a championship, in any sport, that if we had the chance to add the best player on the entire planet to our roster, we'd do it in a heartbeat. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either lying or crazy.

Ok, it's prediction time. Who do you have winning this game Tuesday - C's or Cavs - and why?

Fear The Sword: Celtics will win this game. The past two we played, Anderson Varejao absolutely dismantled Boston's frontline. One game (the one in Boston), he kept grabbing enormous offensive boards, including a crucial one down the stretch which set up Kyrie's game-winner. In the other game, he had a 20-20. A washed-up Garnett and the corpse of Jermaine O'Neal cannot come close to keeping up with The Wild Thing. Fortunately for you, Andy is still out with a broken wrist. That means that Semih Erden will start at center and Ryan Hollins will probably play some minutes. I feel like it should be against the rules to predict a win for any team that lets Ryan Hollins play significant minutes. Celtics win 94-87.



For Celtics and Cavaliers coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Fear The Sword.

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Boston Celtics Face Uphill Battle As Second Half Of Season Begins

Off to a shaky start already, the Boston Celtics are facing an uphill battle as the second half of the season begins on Tuesday night in Cleveland. At 15-17, the Celtics are in need of a boost from anywhere they can get if from.

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Brandon Bass Injury Update: Forward Available Against Cavaliers

Forward Brandon Bass will return to the Boston Celtics lineup Tuesday night as they reconvene after the All-Star break against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, according to the Boston Globe.

Bass missed Boston's final six games before the All-Star break due to swelling in his left knee, but participated in the team's practice Monday and again at shoot around on Tuesday morning. After Monday's practice, Bass' first in more than two weeks, the power forward said he experienced "no pain."

Without Bass in the lineup, the Celtics lost five out of six games, with the only win coming against the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls. Bass' absence highlighted the Celtics' scoring struggles, as they scored fewer than 90 points in four of the six games he missed. Easily the most scoring-minded player on Boston's second unit, Bass will help to limit the long scoring droughts Boston experienced heading into the All-Star break.

For more Celtics coverage, visit our team page or our blog CelticsBlog.

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Celtics Vs. Cavaliers: Boston Looking For Fresh Start In Cleveland

Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo return to the squad following the All-Star break as the Boston Celtics (15-17) look for a fresh start in Ohio as they face Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-18) at 7 p.m. Tuesday (CSNNE/WEEI).

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