NBA Game Summary - Boston at Cleveland
(Sunday, April 12th)
Final Score: Cleveland 107, Boston 76
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - LeBron James finished with 29 points and seven assists, as the Cleveland Cavaliers used a stifling first quarter to deal the Boston Celtics their worst loss of the season, 107-76.
The Cavaliers, who own the NBA's best record at 65-15, also moved one step closer to matching the league's all-time best home record. Cleveland improved to 39-1 at Quicken Loans Arena this season, and is one win shy of matching the 40-1 mark recorded by the 1985-86 Celtics. The Cavaliers, who have won 16 in a row as the host, can match that record in their last game of the season, Wednesday against Philadelphia.
The only home loss by the Cavs this season was to the Lakers, who are chasing Cleveland for the best record in the NBA. But even at 64-17 after beating Memphis later Sunday, the Lakers' hopes of claiming that title are slim.
Cleveland outscored Boston 31-9 in the first quarter on the way to the win, the Cavs' fourth in a row. James actually outscored the Celtics all by himself, putting up 10 points.
"It was really fun," James said of the first quarter. "Everyone was on a string and we covered for each other. Great quarter by us defensively. I looked up at the scoreboard and they were shooting 15 percent. It was unbelievable."
Daniel Gibson added 15 points off the bench for the Cavs, while Zydrunas Ilgauskas ended with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Delonte West and Mo Williams each scored 13.
"I feel like we had a couple of lapses a couple games prior to this stretch right here," Gibson said. "We know that it's that time of year where (if) you want to win games in the playoffs, you have to develop that mindset and that type of intensity to want to go out there and defend the other team. That's what we have been doing."
The first quarter wasn't the Celtics' lowest-scoring stanza ever, as they had just six points in the second quarter of a contest against New Jersey on January 9, 1990.
The Celtics hadn't lost by more than 16 points this season -- which came in the team's first defeat, a 95-79 decision against Indiana on November 1.
Paul Pierce had a team-high 14 points and Glen Davis added 12 for Boston, which had won six in a row and has already locked up the second seed in the East.
"We were going too fast. Everybody was quick, taking quick shots," Boston head coach Doc Rivers said. "That is not our team. I don't know if it ever changed (throughout the game). I thought the ball stuck a lot tonight. We reverted back to that, and we don't do it often, but it happens to all teams. Every guy thought, 'You know what? I am going to win this game for us tonight.' I told our guys I understand that you want to win, but that's not how you win. You win by playing together."
Cleveland put on a dominating display of basketball in the first quarter. With the game tied at four, the Cavs reeled off eight consecutive points, including back-to-back three-pointers from James that made it a 12-4 game.
The Cavaliers continued to lead in what was a low-scoring start, as Pierce's jumper got the Celtics within 16-8 with 4 1/2 minutes to go. But Cleveland scored 15 points the rest of the way -- including a pair of threes from Gibson -- while all Boston got was a free throw from Pierce.
Joe Smith's dunk capped the first quarter scoring to put Cleveland ahead 31-9, and the Cavaliers essentially cruised the rest of the game.
Boston scored 14 points near the end of the half to get its deficit under 20. Pierce had seven of the points, while Ray Allen's trey brought the Celtics within 49-33 with under half a minute to play. But James answered with a three-point play as the Cavs went into halftime with a 52-33 advantage.
Cleveland began the third quarter on a 13-5 stretch to boost its lead back above 20, and was ahead 82-56 going into the fourth.
Each team's starters sat for much of the final frame.
Cleveland center Ben Wallace left the game at the 8:36 mark of the second quarter with a left knee contusion and did not return. He finished with two rebounds in 6:05 of game time...Mikki Moore had 10 points for Boston, which shot 35.8 percent overall and 5-of-18 from three-point range. The Celtics also made just 13-of-22 free throws...Cleveland made 55.1 percent of its shots, including 10-of-16 from beyond the arc...The Cavs held a 46-28 rebounding edge.
04/13 00:35:52 ET