Celtics hold off Cavaliers, 103-100

Celtics hold off Cavaliers, 103-100
December 28, 2013, 3:30 pm
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BOSTON — Jeff Green's shot attempt bounced off the rim six times - and then fell in.

It was that kind of day for Green and the Celtics. They got the bounce that time, and got just enough down the stretch when Kyrie Irving and the Cavs made a big run.

The Celtics hung on and beat the Cavs Saturday afternoon, 103-100.

The Andrew Bynum-less Cavs, that is.

The Cavs announced a couple hours before tip-off that they suspended their seven-foot center indefinitely. They probably could have used him.

Although Boston scored just 28 points in the paint, the Celtics more than held their own on the glass, 43-40, against a Cleveland team that ranked 12th in total rebounds going into the game.

While the C's didn't do damage down low, they really didn't need to. As a team, they shot 45.8 percent from the field, including 6-25 from three-point range. Late in the fourth quarter, a couple of big baskets did come in the paint - notably Jordan Crawford's turnaround jumper, and an offensive rebound that turned into two free throws for Brandon Bass after he was fouled the shot attempt following the rebound.

And like it has been all season for the Celtics, a total team effort was in order. Boston had six players score in double figures, including three players that scored at least 18 points - Green (19), Bradley (18), and Crawford (19) - and Bass, who scored 15.

Kris Humphries and Courtney Lee provided the offensive spark off the bench for the Celtics, finishing with 10 and 11 points, respectively. Lee scored 10 of those points in the second quarter, a quarter that saw the Celtics extend their lead from two points at the start to 15 at halftime, 59-44.

It was more of the same in the third quarter, as Boston extended their lead to 19 points on Crawford's 10 third-quarter points.

But not all good things can last - especially in the NBA. Unlike in their first game back on Nov. 29, the Cavs fought back in the 4th quarter. An 85-66 lead became a 102-100 lead in the final minute of the game. Down two points, the Cavs actually had a chance to win the game with 18.7 seconds left in the game.

Dion Waiters drove to the basket where he was cleanly blocked by Brandon Bass, who then got the ball to Jeff Green, who then got the ball to Avery Bradley. By the time the Cavs fouled, there was just 1.4 seconds left. Bradley hit one of two free throws, Cleveland called a timeout, and an Earl Clark shot fell short.

Irving didn't touch the ball on either of the Cavs' final possessions, and the C's escaped.