- Marcus Morris spent most of the game guarding James and still scored 17 points. George Hill, Cleveland's replacement at point guard for the jettisoned Isaiah Thomas, pumped in 12 points, Jordan Clarkson tallied 17 points off the bench, and Rodney Hood finished with 15.
To prove that point, look no further than tonight's jersey retirement of Celtics legend Paul Pierce. "It's my job to as the leader of this team to make sure that I acclimate the new four guys to be around a culture that's built around winning".
With Boston trailing by over 20 points to Cleveland in the fourth quarter, the home crowd started multiple "We want Paul Pierce" chants - an homage to the former Celtics forward who had taken down LeBron James and company in the 2008 and 2010 postseasons. The Celtics need to look to Pierce and see what he was able to accomplish against James, and use that to push them through the rest of the regular season, and once again send James to another team in hopes of recapturing the glory he once had.
Coupled with Toronto's blowout win over Charlotte earlier in the day, the Celtics finally were knocked off their perch atop the Eastern Conference, and now trail the Raptors by a half-game. Kyrie Irving added 18 points and five assists, and he shared a nice hug with James after the game. To help make a push for their fourth straight National Basketball Association finals, Cleveland traded away six players and acquired four at the deadline.More news: Tonga parliament constructing flattened by Cyclone Gita
Hill is the only one of the newcomers announced in Sunday's starting lineup by coach Tyronn Lue.
BOSTON - Cedi Osman, making just the second start of his career, anticipated the pass, snatched hold of the ball and darted down the Boston Celtics' parquet court for an uncontested, two-handed slam. "So that's a good sign".
Pierce's former teammates Antoine Walker, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were in attendance for the ceremony, along with Pierce's former coach in Boston and with the Clippers, Doc Rivers. "I know it must have been hard for you as a kid growing up in Los Angeles to join the Celtics", Bryant said with a smile in a video shown at TD Garden.
Pierce's number became the 22nd retired by the Celtics, the most of any major U.S.pro sports franchise.