The Cleveland Cavaliers put a slight damper on the Boston crowd, who came to celebrate legendary Paul Pierce on Sunday, closing out the game in a 121-99 victory over the Celtics.
LeBron James dominated the floor finishing with 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. James collided into Aaron Baynes in the lane with about five minutes left in the first quarter. James hopped off the court as he proceeded to check out his right leg. James checked back into the game, but later preserved his body while sitting out the fourth. Jordan Clarkson scored 17 and George Hill had 12 points.
“It was a good start,” said James. “It’s almost like the new guys have been here. It started with George [Hill] and his on the ball pressure and him just running the team. Then three guys came off the bench and Jordan [Clarkson] is ready to score at any point in time, but his composure was great. Rodney [Hood] plays with so much poise and Larry [Nance Jr.] was just controlled in the perimeter. [Nance Jr] had some great pick-n-rolls, he got in a lob, and a dunk. It was a good start for the new guys, it was a good start for all of us with our revamped team, so far.”
The Cavs were able to contest numerous shots defensively, forbidding the C’s to go on a run. Contesting shots and forcing the Celtics to take tough jumpers was key for the Cavaliers, and one they carried out in Sunday’s game.
“That’s what we want to do. We’ve been preaching it for quite a while now, and it hasn’t resulted in numbers or wins. We feel like right now with the type of caliber players that we have now that we can defend at a high level. It’s going to be some games where teams make shots, we understand that. Tonight we felt like we just wanted to contest all the shots we could and try to make them miss as many [shots] as we could… we did a good job of that,” said James.
Terry Rozier scored 12 points and had nine assists while Kyrie Irving added 18 points before sitting out the fourth when the Cavaliers took the rest of the game into their own hands. The Celtics were able to cut the score to nine points in the third quarter but that was the closest they came to the Cavs.
Both Irving and the head coach of the Celtics Brad Stevens agreed on the fact that Cleveland simply played a phenomenal game. They additionally agreed that their teams’ competitive, aggressive mindset was undoubtedly present from the start. It was turnovers which led to transition points toward the end of the first half that, “changed the complexion of the game,” said Stevens.
“I mean you got to give credit when it’s due,” said Irving.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Paul Pierce had already contributed all he had for 15 years and could only sit and watch.
But in the end, it was all about the Truth.
The crowd, however, was unfazed as they watched Pierce sit in a baseline seat by the same court where he scored 42 points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the finals to secure their 17th NBA championship.
A resounding chorus of, “we want Paul Pierce!” was roared up to the Garden rafters.
Although the Celtics took the L tonight against the Cavs, everyone in the Boston TD Garden knew that the Cavaliers could never take away the 2008 Championship win, starring the Truth, Paul Pierce.