Celtics/Cavs Links

The Celtics welcomed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Garden last night for the Celtics first home game after their West coast road trip. Traditionally, these types of games are letdown games…for any team. The young Celtics however, playing again without Paul Pierce, didn’t let down.

It was a lively crowd at the Garden last night, as the presence of LeBron no doubt attracted many to this game. In the crowd were a number of Patriots, including Mike Vrabel, Benjamin Watson, Daniel Graham, Vince Wilfork and Troy Brown. Also in attendance was Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The crowd was treated to an entertaining, though ultimately disappointing game. The Celtics led for much of the first three quarters and then fell behind in the fourth. They came back to have an opportunity to take a lead, but Delonte West had his shot swatted away by Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was a thorn in the side of the Celtics all night long. They Celtics then had a chance to tie with eight seconds left, trailing by two, but Tony Allen could only make the second of two foul shots. After James made a pair of free throws at the other end, a three at the buzzer by Wally Szczerbiak was off the mark, and the Celtics fell, 107-104.

The Celtics got electric performances from the three players who have really stepped up their game this season in Al Jefferson (18 points, 12 rebounds) Tony Allen (22 points) and Gerald Green (21 points).

Peter May says at least this home loss felt a little better than some of the other ones. Mark Murphy says that the Celtics just didn’t have enough answers for LeBron. Robert Lee has Doc Rivers pleased with how his club played, even if they came up short in the end. Lenny Megliola notes that he Garden has been a rough place for the Celtics, who are 4-11 on the parquet, the worst record in the league. Bill Doyle says that the crowd came to see LeBron do something special and they didn’t leave disappointed.

Frank Dell’Apa looks at the night for LeBron, which included two buzzer beaters, including an 80 foot heave, as well as some huge free throws at the end. Matt Kalman has LeBron offering compliments and advice for Gerald Green.

In Cleveland, Mary Schmitt Boyer looks at the Cavs stepping up their defense in the second half to claim their second win in two nights. She also has a Q&A with Wally Szczerbiak.

May’s notebook has an update on Paul Pierce who was on the bench in street clothes. Murphy’s notebook has more on Pierce, who is apparently going to be sidelined a little longer than previously thought. Lee’s notebook says it will be at least two more week off for Pierce. Doyle’s notebook also has more on Pierce.