THE NITTY GRITTY
Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford each scored a team-high 19 points to pace six Boston players in double figures. Both Green and Avery Bradley (18 points) were active on the glass, finishing with a team-best eight rebounds apiece. Kyrie Irving became the first player to score 30-plus points against the Celtics this season, putting up a game-high 32 points while fueling Cleveland's fourth-quarter comeback. Dion Waiters added 17 points, but was denied by Brandon Bass on a late drive to help Boston emerge with the win.
The Celtics opened the game up a bit in the second quarter while running with a lineup featuring Jared Sullinger and reserves. Courtney Lee, 10 points in the first half, hit consecutive 3-pointers and Boston's lead doubled to 12 (38-26) with 7 ½ minutes to play in the quarter. The Cavaliers would get as close as six later in the frame, but an aggressive Green helped push it to a first-half best 15 points before the intermission. That lead ballooned as high as 22 in the second half before the Cavaliers made a late-game charge ...
FENDING THEM OFF AT FINISH LINE
The Celtics were up 19 entering the fourth quarter, but Cleveland chipped away, clawing within two in the final minute (all while the Celtics looked like they were trying to kneel out the clock; firing a couple airballs that led to 24-second violations). Bass blocked Waiters on a late drive, and the Cavaliers got another chance to force overtime on a final possession, but Earl Clark couldn't get off a shot while blanketed by Bradley.
Bass connected on only his second career 3-pointer during a late-clock scramble early in the third quarter. This just a month after making his first career triple against the Cavaliers. Bass is now 2-for-18 beyond the arc for his career. ... Bass finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics, coming off a five-day break, snapped a three-game losing streak while moving to 13-17 overall. Boston gets two more days off before hosting the Atlanta Hawks in another matinee on New Year's Eve. Things jump up soon after with a stretch of seven games in 10 days, which includes six games on the road including a five-game trip out west.