Can somebody find out where the Cleveland Cavaliers of last year went? After doing what everybody expected them too a season ago -- fail miserably without LeBron James -- the rebuilding process has sped up considerably this season.
Cleveland gave the Boston Celtics quite the shock on Sunday when Kyrie Irving sunk the game-winning layup with 2.6 seconds left to give his team an improbably 88-87 victory. On Tuesday night, Irving and his squad almost did it again.
After falling behind by 21 points, the Cavaliers used a huge fourth quarter (in which they outscored the Boston, 32-17) to bring themselves within three points. Alas, that was as close as they would get as the Celtics were able to maintain their lead and escape with a 93-90 victory, which put them at .500 for the season.
Revenge? In one way, yes. But all things considered, it was a bittersweet result.
Paul Pierce, fueled by his lack of playing time down the stretch in Sunday's loss, put forth a productive game, finishing with 20 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass both finished with 13 points while Ray Allen and Jermaine O'Neal, who made his return from a knee injury, had 12 points. Boston (10-10) shot 50.7 percent.
Anderson Varejao had his way for Cleveland (8-12), notching a 20-20 game (20 points, 20 rebounds) as the Cavs dominated Boston on the glass, 39-28. Varejao himself out-rebounded Boston on the offensive boards, 10-7. Irving scored 21 and had six assists as the Cavs shot 45.3 percent in defeat. Antawn Jamison totaled 12 points while Alonzo Gee chipped in with 11 points and four steals off the bench for Cleveland.
Boston has a quick turnaround, as it returns home to host the Raptors on Wednesday.