NBA Game Summary - Boston at Cleveland
(Saturday, December 18th)
Final Score: Boston 114, Cleveland 107 (OT)
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Gary Payton scored six points in the span of a minute during overtime to lift the Boston Celtics to a hard-fought 114-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Gund Arena.
Paul Pierce poured in a game-high 34 points with seven rebounds and six assists for the Celtics, who overcame a 16-point, third-quarter deficit on the way to their fourth win in five games. Payton finished with 21 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer in the extra session.
"We're starting to come together and we're starting to find out more and more about ourselves each and every game," said Pierce.
The Cavaliers saw their nine-game home win streak come to a close despite getting 31 points from LeBron James, who fouled out for the first time in his career after tallying four points in overtime. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 21 points while Drew Gooden collected 17 points and 16 boards in the loss.
Payton's most crucial bucket came with 1:16 to go in overtime when he buried a three-pointer with his team trailing 107-106. Ilgauskas had just swatted Pierce's shot in the paint, but the loose ball ended up right in the hands of a wide-open Payton.
The next three points also came from Payton via the foul line. His third free throw pushed the cushion to 112-107 with 17 ticks remaining as the Cavs couldn't find their offense without James, who fouled out 1:14 earlier.
"That was a helluva win by us," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers.
Jeff McInnis failed to cut it down to three with a missed layup at the other end and Raef LaFrentz iced the contest with a pair of foul shots.
Ilgauskas' free throw accounted for the first point of OT and James' four points that followed was all Cleveland could muster.
Payton also keyed a quick 9-0 spurt midway through the final stanza that got the Celtics right back into the contest. Down 93-82, Payton's layup narrowed the gap to two, but Boston didn't break even until his drive to the hoop almost 2 1/2 minutes later made it 97-97.
The game remained tied right down to the final seconds of regulation when Pierce missed a chance for an outlet pass to a streaking Payton for a breakaway layup. After a long rebound, Payton sprinted down the floor behind the defense, but Pierce's bounce pass was too strong and went out of bounds.
Ilgauskas then had 2.8 seconds remaining to connect on a potential game winner, but his long jumper was off the mark, sending the game into overtime at 102-102.
"They made the shots down the stretch and we didn't," said James.
Pierce netted 22 points in the first half, but his team still trailed by as many as nine after an 11-4 Cleveland run. James, who went to the break with 17 points, drained a three-pointer 3:43 before halftime to make it 50-41.
A three by Pierce with 30 seconds to go trimmed the deficit to three at 57-54 at the intermission.
Pierce recorded the opening bucket of the third quarter to make it a one-point game, but the Cavaliers dominated the rest of the frame. James started and finished a 25-10 burst with a pair of layups to give his team its biggest lead of the night, 82-66, late in the period.
The double-double for Gooden was his 11th of the season...Cleveland suspended backup point guard Eric Snow for the game as a result of his argument with head coach Paul Silas during Thursday night's loss to Detroit...The Cavaliers fell to 9-2 at home on the year...McInnis finished with 16 points and nine helpers.
12/19 00:58:35 ET