Ray Allen supplied the dagger three-pointer with 48 seconds left for the Boston Celtics to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113 yesterday at the TD Garden. The C’s were up 22 before Cleveland surged back in the fourth to eventually gain their first lead with just over a minute remaining. From there it was a battle from the charity stripe with Ray’s 25-footer providing the necessary momentum. Allen finished with a season high 33 points, netting 6-of-9 from downtown. Kevin Garnett controlled the inside game with 19 points and eight rebounds. Rajon Rondo set the tempo with 16 points and 14 assists.
LeBron James collected 42 points, nine assists and seven rebounds despite coming up short in the end. Down by two with ten seconds on the clock, James thought he could steal the show with a game-winning three for the Cavaliers to solidify home court advantage through the playoffs. LeBron took the risk and missed to give Boston the W, evening the regular season score at 2-2.
High tensions, emotions and pure dislike for one another caused for six technical fouls to be handed out during the game. Boston and Cleveland both realize the potential to meet again in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the round in 2008 where the Celts edged the Cavs in a hard-fought seven games en route to winning their 17th NBA title. “We don’t like them. They don’t like us. So I wasn’t surprised at all,” said James. “It comes from them wanting to be really great, them winning the championship, us wanting to win the championship and having to come through Boston to try to win it.”