Celtics 93, Cavaliers 92

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Forward Jeff Green's driving layup at the buzzer powered the Boston Celtics' 93-92 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Celtics (37-34) snapped a five-game losing streak with Green's heroics. He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Forward Brandon Bass had a game-high 22 points and added five rebounds for the Celtics, who were playing without Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee.
The Cavs (22-48) had a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. They still were up by 10 with 5 minutes, 48 seconds left. Poor execution and missed shots down the stretch led to their sixth consecutive loss and 10th in the last 12 games.
Celtics swingman Paul Pierce had a night to remember with 19 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven turnovers. He shot 7-of-16 from the field.
The last time the Celtics were in town, Dec. 19, Pierce had a season-high 40 points.
On Wednesday, the Cavs were missing their top three scorers -- Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao -- and Wayne Ellington scored 16 points to lead six Cavs in double figures.
Point guard Shaun Livingston had a fine floor game with 12 points, three rebounds and five assists. However, he missed a 10-foot jumper with 10.9 seconds remaining, and Celtics guard Jason Terry grabbed the key rebound.
Forward Alonzo Gee, who added 12 points and five rebounds, knocked the ball out of Pierce's hands and out of bounds with 2.1 seconds remaining. That led to Green's driving layup.
Cavs swingman C.J. Miles dropped in two free throws with 39 seconds remaining, which opened up a three-point edge, 92-89.
Pierce's turnaround jumper in the lane narrowed the Celtics' deficit to 92-91.
The Cavs outscored the Celtics 28-21 in the third quarter. They led 73-67 heading into the fourth quarter.
Guard Wayne Ellington had nine of his team-high 16 points in the third quarter.
Bass had 18 points after three quarters for the Celtics.
The Cavs have had miserable starts to the third quarter all season. Not on Wednesday.
They started the second half on a staggering 17-4 run. They opened a 62-50 bulge on the Celtics, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Celtics held onto a one-point advantage at halftime, 46-45.
The Cavs picked up the pace in the second quarter and outscored the Celtics 27-22. The Cavs were still shooting just 36.7 percent from the field.
Cavs center Tyler Zeller had a team-high nine points, eight rebounds and a block in the first half. He finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Power forward Tristan Thompson struggled through the first half with zero points and four rebounds. He had just two points, but pulled down nine rebounds. He was 1-of-6 from the field.
Bass and Pierce had 11 points in the first half for the Celtics. Pierce had a team-high seven rebounds, five assists, six turnovers and two blocks.
The Cavs appeared to be running in mud in the first quarter, as they were outscored 24-18 and shot a woeful 31.8 percent from the field. Zeller got off to a strong start with seven points and six rebounds.
Green had nine points, two rebounds and a block in the opening quarter. The Celtics shot 44.4 percent from the field.
NOTES: Celtics coach Doc Rivers unveiled a new starting lineup against the Cavs. Chris Wilcox started at center in place of Garnett. Rivers decided to go with his new lineup, which included Bass at power forward, Green at small forward and Pierce at shooting guard. He went with a tall lineup because of the Cavs' size. ... Sullinger is out for the season after having back surgery on Feb. 2 to repair a lumbar disk. But he still remains very high in the Celtics' plans. The 6-foot-9, 260-pounder, the No. 21 overall selection in the 2012 draft out of Ohio State, is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall. "We just felt that No. 1, there was nobody better than him at that point," Rivers said. "If he had come out the year before, he would have been in the top five." Rivers said the Celtics' team doctor told them that Sullinger would need surgery on his back at some point. That's one of the reasons he lasted so long in the draft. "(The surgery is) not career-threatening," Rivers said. "It's just surgery. We were hoping it would happen in the summertime, to be honest. He'll be fine next year. He probably won't play in summer league." Sullinger averaged 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 45 games this season. ... Cavs coach Byron Scott turns 52 on Thursday. ... Since Jan. 22, Cavs forward Luke Walton leads all Eastern Conference bench players in assists at 4.6 per game. ... Zeller has recorded six double-doubles this season -- second among East rookies and fourth overall. Zeller has two double-doubles in his last five games.

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