LeBron James missed a pair of free throws and Thomas hit a pull-up three to give the Celtics a 70-67 lead.
Playing the Cavaliers’ superstar in that position is not new.
Kyrie Irving contributed 20 points, Iman Shumpert posted a career-high 16 rebounds to go with 12 points off the bench, and J.R. Smith delivered 14 points on four 3-pointers in what was a bit of a payback win for the Cavs, who have won three straight and lead the East by 2.5 games over Toronto.
While the Celtics were griping, the Cavaliers were busy surging back from an 18-point first-quarter deficit, and they ultimately breezed to the finish for a 120-103 victory, snapping Boston’s five-game winning streak.
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love won’t play against Washington, part of Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue’s plans to rest his starters.
Lue said Love will likely see time at center Saturday, but banging down low against Boston can’t sound too appealing to him.
This was a game that just didn’t suit the Celtics style of play. LeBron did a great job just spreading the floor, running and setting picks. After another missed shot by Boston, James gets the rebound and takes it up the court on his own for the jam.
“It worked to our favor for sure”, James said.
When asked about working out with Wade, whose Heat could meet the Cavs in the playoffs, James said, “I don’t care”. “I didn’t know how much he was going to play”. But the Celtics play with a similar fast-paced tempo to the Western Conference champs, which is something that has given Cleveland trouble in the past.
John Wall scored 17 and Markieff Morris 13 for the Wizards.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, Cleveland is now a 7.5-point home favorite versus Boston after the line opened at 6.5.
Not only did James and the Cavs get the win against the visiting Celtics, but he passed Tim Duncan for 17th on the all-time NBA/ABA scoring list. The Wizards turned the ball over 16 times tonight (10 in the first half), many of which were live ball turnovers. On Saturday, they will have a chance to redeem themselves against the Indiana Pacers at home.
The Cavs honored the 40th anniversary of the 1975-76 “Miracle in Richfield” team featuring Austin Carr and Campy Russell during halftime.
Timberwolves 132, Nets 118: Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Minnesota shot a franchise-record 68.4 percent to beat Brooklyn.
Wizards: F/G Alan Anderson sat out with a sore left ankle.
The Celtics went into Cleveland Saturday night winners of five straight games. G Bradley Beal has been coming off the bench the past 10 games and the switch has balanced Washington’s scoring.
“We got off to such a sloppy start”, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Zach Randolph scored 25 points and grabbed four rebounds in the final minute to lead Memphis.
“Cause I want to”, he said. “It was unexpected with this being his first game back because we were thinking that he would have a little rust”.
What everybody who’s close to him continuously reminds me of is: ‘don’t you dare take LeBron for granted or think he’s trapped into staying in Cleveland just because he came back.
On their previous visit to Cleveland, the Celtics rallied in the final seconds to beat the Cavs 104-103 on February 5.
“We feel like we deserve some of the calls that other teams get”, added Sullinger, who picked up Boston’s other technical late in the fourth quarter. “So, we look forward to the challenge.”…