Look Cavs destroy Celtics on Pierce's jersey retirement night

Ruben Hill
February 12, 2018

LeBron James quieted a Celtics crowd that came to celebrate Paul Pierce on Sunday, scoring 24 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds to give new-look Cleveland a 121-99 victory over Boston in an individual performance reminiscent of the rivalry's heyday.

And this time, Paul Pierce was sitting courtside in street clothes, unable to do anything about it.

The Cavaliers, who have won three straight, are 5½ games behind Boston.

Cleveland acquired four players and dealt away six others as they attempt to make a push for their fourth straight National Basketball Association finals. The four players - George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr. - combined for 49 points and helped the Cavs defense hold the Celtics to just 40.4 percent shooting from the field and 26.3 percent from 3.

LeBron James scored 24, issued 10 assists and was two rebounds short of a triple-double as the Cavaliers made it three straight wins. "So that's a good sign". The veteran ranks third on the team with 17 points per game. On the other side of the basket were former coach Doc Rivers and former teammates Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Antoine Walker.

Despite the home team's loss, the night belonged to Pierce and his family as they got to hear tribute videos from Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson and see his number 34 raised to the rafters of the Boston Garden arena. He is the 23rd person in the history of the Celtics, the N.B.A.'s most-decorated franchise, to be honored that way.

"When you're forever with the Celtics, you're forever", he said.

James gave Cavs fans a scare when he left the game after suffering an apparent right leg injury late in the first quarter. "He should be on 'Game of Thrones, '" James said.

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is one of those people who isn't sure what to make of what's going on with Thomas right now.

Thomas was traded by the Celtics to Cleveland in August as part of the package for Kyrie Irving. And Pierce balked at sharing the stage with him on Sunday, Cleveland's only other trip to Boston.

The Fil-Am guard, acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers on deadline day, shot 7 for 10 in 22 minutes of action. Then Altman went for broke, sprayed the board, and did the only thing he could do to potentially get the Cavs back in the Finals conversation: he shipped out basically half the team.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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