By By Travis H. Singleton, BASN sports writer
Updated: January 31, 2012
BOSTON, MA–The Boston Celtics have been on a roll as of lately winning four in a row including beating the Indiana Pacers 94-87 on Friday night. Paul Pierce had a very productive game almost having a triple double as Paul recorded 28 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Celtics are playing Celtic basketball now as the defense and offense have gotten it together on one accord. Heading into the game sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers the Celtics would get a familiar face back on the court as Ray Allen was due to return after a severe ankle sprain but, still no Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O’Neal.
The Celtics and Cavs were neck and neck the whole first half as Ray Allen and Pierce were lighting up the Cavs defense just as well as Anderson Varejao and Rookie Kyrie Irving did to the Celtics. Both teams were shooting close to the same percentage the first half as the Celtics shot 37.% from the field and the Cavs 33.3%. The Celtics were down 44-43 going into the half and had to try to find a way to slow down Cleveland’s offense. Celtics as a team wanted to set the mind set on the defensive end to try to stop Kyrie Irving from taking advantage of the fast breaks and stop his shooting which they did a pretty good job of until the second half. Celtics came out in the third quarter shooting an lights out 64.3% from the field and holding the Cavs to 35% so it was evident that the Celtics defense showed up in the garden.
Ray Allen had showed up in his usual cameo of his movie “He Got Game” as he showed that the movie title proved to be right. Allen was playing as if he didn’t miss a game at all hitting shot after shot and you know when Ray’s mom is standing up with her hands in the air her son is making something happen for the good of the team.
Allen said ” If I wasn’t 100% or close to it I wouldn’t of played in the game I feel like I would be hurting myself and my teammates and I just wanted to be ready’. So with Allen saying that he made it clear to anyone that thought the injury would slow him down that he was back to his original routine night as he had 18 points heading into the fourth quarter as Celtics were up 70-62 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the fourth quarter Celtics biggest lead was 11 points as it looked as like they were about to lock this one in for another win to add to their winning streak but the young but very talented player drafted from out of Duke University had other things in mind for the Celtics.
Kyrie Irving in the fourth quarter took his game to another level above any other player last night when it mattered. Kyrie had 8 huge points to mount a comeback in the fourth for the Cavs, and I have to throw in the fact that Anderson Varejao had helped him out with 4 points and a couple of huge “Tommy Points” as Celtics broadcaster Tommy Heinshon would say for hustle plays. Kyrie Irving had played that fourth quarter like a veteran thats been in the league for a while with the poise and control he possessed because, he did not look and act like a rookie when the spotlight was shinning on him. With 23 seconds left in the game Anderson Varejao stole the ball from Brandon Bass leaving the team with 22 seconds to spare on the clock and without hesitation coach Byron Scott knew who he was gonna live and die with on that possession. Byron Scott said ” Kyrie just had that look in his eye like he wanted the ball and we have total confidence in him so we gave him the ball on a high post screen, to see what he could do with it”.
The Rookie of the Year in my eyes showed why he is deserving up that award as he milked the clock until about 5 seconds and split defenders Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley and went to the basket for the game winning left handed layup. That was his first game winner in the NBA and after he made the layup he had pointed to his father who was in the crowd defining a great moment in his young career.
The Celtics are going to take this loss pretty hard being up in the fourth quarter by 11 with six minutes to go and lose the game on a game winning layup not even a shot a layup.
That alone shows that the Celtics defense broke down some where in coverage during that final sequence and if they want to win games they have to finish off teams in the fourth quarter when it counts.
Heading into the Celtics next game against the Toronto Raptors the Celtics were granted a day off by Doc Rivers so that they can rest up because Pierce and Garnett have been playing a lot of overtime minutes then what they are used too. The Celtics will take on the Raptors at the home on wednesday and need to make sure they put the nail in the coffin on teams in the fourth if they want to emerge as one of the top teams in the eastern conference.
Kevin Garnett Post Game Interview
What did you see from Ray Allen tonight coming off the injury?
Ray Allen , thats classic Ray he gave us a spark and he was energized and he looks like he hasn’t slept in days but, thats typical of a new father and he helped us scoring wise and this lose hurt us badly.
What happened in the fourth quarter?
Ball movement like I said they were a lot more aggressive too and they gained the momentum going into the fourth. They had like a 12-0 run you can’t let any team do that and win. They have a confident young player he’s really good and they had Jamison and Varejao who know there role and they put together a stretch and thats never easy to look at when you want to win.
Ray Allen Interview
How did you feel on the court tonight?
I felt great personally just tried to play going how i felt and I was aware of my body early and as the game went on I felt a lot better.
What happened down the stretch?
I thought we did a poor job in the fourth on the pick and roll and we didn’t get the ball out of Kyrie’s hands at least make him see more pressure because he got to his spots and made the plays for his team.
Byron Scott Interview
Talk about Kyrie Irving’s Performance?
Did a great job put the ball in his hands for the last play of the game told him we wanted him to go at 7 seconds and he was able to get us the basket.
What were you able to do defensively in that last stretch of the game against the Celtics?
The biggest thing was to make sure they didn’t get any open looks challenge every shot and rebound the ball and make it as hard as possible and that last 3:30 we did that.
Kyrie Irving Interview
Talk about the comeback it was very impressive?
We just came out with a lot of energy coming out the last timeout and he got a couple stops at the end of the game we just wanted to be aggressive and I’m glad that we carried it out and I’m proud of my teammates.
How sweet does it feel to make your first game winning shot?
It feels good especially having the confidence of my teammates and they trust me with the ball and they trust me to take the shot and I’m just glad I was able to make it .
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