On LeBron James’ 32nd birthday, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to defeat the Boston Celtics 124-118 behind double-doubles from each of the “Big Three”.
The 1st quarter was basically Kevin Love vs. Avery Bradley as the two traded shots up and down the floor. Love ended the quarter with 15 points on 6-11 shooting and Avery Bradley had 11 points but was seemingly the only Celtic contributing. A poor shooting performance from Boston (37.5% from the field and 21.4% from 3-point), let the Cavaliers head into the 2nd quarter with a 32-25 lead.
Isaiah Thomas got going in the 2nd quarter and was able to keep the game close as he had 19 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds heading into the half. The problem was that Boston couldn’t get more than one player going at once, while Cleveland had each of the “Big Three” going all night long. LeBron James ended the half with 11 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds, Kyrie Irving had 15 points and 7 assists, and Kevin Love continued to lead the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Avery Bradley; after a solid opening quarter was held scoreless in the 2nd and the Cavs held a 66-59 lead at the half.
Kevin Love and the Cavaliers caught fire again in the 3rd quarter as the Celtics let them play their type of game. Cleveland loves to play a fast pace offense and that’s exactly what they were able to do; jumping out to as big as a 20-point lead. Isaiah Thomas seemingly was the only Celtic contributing still, with 8 more points in the quarter and LeBron, Kyrie, and Love each had double-doubles already as the Cavs held a commanding 101-83 lead heading into the final quarter.
Just when everyone thought the Celtics were finished, they got back into the game with a clutch 19-7 run and trimmed the lead down to just 1-point with a minute remaining in the game. Boston actually had a chance to take the lead with 8 seconds left but Jae Crowder missed a 3-point shot which forced the Celtics to start fouling and that ultimately led to the loss.
It was extremely impressive that the Celtics made a comeback like that against a team of the Cavaliers’ caliber, but Cleveland clung to that lead and came away with a nail-biting win. Isaiah Thomas finished the game with 31 points and 9 assists but Boston needed much more as Kyrie Irving had a game-high 32 points and 12 assists, LeBron finished with 23 points and 11 assists, and Kevin Love ended with 30 points and 15 rebounds. When Cleveland gets production like that from each of the “Big Three”, they hardly ever lose and even though they almost blew it, LeBron gets to go home happy on his birthday.