Cavaliers come from 22-down in fourth quarter, behind 20 from Dean Wade, to snap Celtics' win streak

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers

Dean Wade was the best player on the court Tuesday night. Not Jayson Tatum (especially in the second half). Not Jaylen Brown. Not Kristaps Porzingis or Jrue Holiday. Not Darius Garland.

Boston was ahead 93-71 in the fourth quarter when Wade took over, scoring 20 points the rest of the way and sparking an improbable comeback against a Celtics team that had won 11 in a row.

Wade capped it off not with another 3, but with a game-winning putback dunk.

Boston had one more chance to win it and that's where things got controversial.

The Celtics' designed play kind of fell apart — that happens too much to Boston in the clutch — and it became Tatum trying to back down Garland at the free throw line. Tatum rose up but missed a fadeaway jumper with :0.7 on the clock, but a whistle blew and Garland was called for a foul. Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff challenged that call and upon review it was overturned, with Crew Chief Zach Zarba saying it was Tatum's leg kicked that caused contact, not Garland's contest, so no foul.

Here was Zarba's comment postgame: "In our opinion, there was clear and conclusive evidence that the leg extension by Tatum created that marginal contact with the defender Garland where otherwise contact wouldn't have been made. That's why it was overturned."
Tatum said postgame he thought he was fouled, that if the refs just let the play go with no whistle, Kristaps Porzingis would have won it with a putback, but the Celtics didn't lose this game just on the last play. Tatum himself put up 22 points, including hitting 5-of-6 from 3, in the first half. However, in the second half he had just four points.

It was a game where Boston had been in control, took its foot off the gas, and someone forgot to tell Wade the game was all but over. Cleveland picked up a key win without Donovan Mitchell, who is out after treatment on his knee. But he was watching.