Kyrie Irving began Tuesday’s game against the Celtics with a hot hand. The second-year point guard schooled the C’s for 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the opening quarter.
The C’s had no answer for Irving in the first quarter but they figured him out in the second and third periods; he totaled just six points during those frames. Unfortunately for Boston, however, Irving closed the game out in the same fashion that he opened it.
Irving dropped 15 points in the final quarter on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Thirteen of those points came in the final five minutes of the game, all of which immediately followed the Celtics taking a three-point lead on a Jared Sullinger jumper with 5:23 remaining.
This, my friends, was complete take-over mode. It was a superstar being a superstar. It was evidence of what a cornerstone of an organization can do single-handedly.
Sadly for Boston, it was also reminiscent of last year’s home game against the Cavs, when Irving logged six points and an assist in the final 4:13 to lead Cleveland to an 88-87 road victory.
It was nearly a year to the date from that game – 358 days, to be exact – and it was the same result. Kyrie Irving took over and the C’s simply couldn’t overcome his greatness.
Key Box Score Line
Well, if you read about the Key Moment of this game, you might have an idea of how great Kyrie Irving was tonight.
He Paul Pierce’d the Celtics. Just about one month after Pierce dropped 40 points on the Cavaliers during a 13-of-16 shooting performance, Irving scored 40 on the C’s with a 16-of-24 shooting night. He scored 19 points in the first quarter and 15 in the fourth quarter to lead Cleveland to a victory.
The second-year point guard out of Duke also chipped in three rebounds and two steals while tying for Cleveland’s team high in assists with five. He shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Box Score Nuggets
- Jared Sullinger came off the bench to score 12 points, which single-handedly outscored the Cavaliers' bench by one point.
- Boston's scoring decreased in each of the four quarters.
- Kyrie Irving's 40 points more than doubled the output of any individual Celtics player.
- The Celtics won the rebounding battle by a count of 48-39.
- Each team racked up at least 24 assists even though neither team shot better than 45.1 percent from the field.
- Cleveland shot just 2-for-12 on 3s.
- Sullinger fouled out of the game after 26 minutes of action.
- The Celtics scored just five points off of Cleveland's 13 turnovers.
- Cleveland scored 20 points off of Boston's 18 turnovers.
- Rajon Rondo grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and also led the C's in scoring with 17 points and in assists with eight.
- Cleveland scored 46 points in the paint.
- Boston scored just six points in the paint during the second half.
- Paul Pierce pushed for a triple-double with 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Quote of the Night
I want it so bad. I've gotta kind of find a balance. Some of the things I messed up on tonight - that's not me. I've got to do better. I've got to be better, be more effective, for 48 minutes. Kevin Garnett on his current play