for this game

Celtics hold off Cavs

Feb 29, 2012 - 4:49 AM Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Ray Allen paced the Boston attack with 22 points as the Celtics held on for an 86-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday.

Kevin Garnett added 18 points and eight rebounds, while Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass netted 12 points apiece as the Celtics halted a five-game losing streak.

"Well, it was a win," joked Boston head coach Doc Rivers after the game. "I mean, that's all it was for us. We'll take the win. We needed the win. It's a good way to end a losing streak and (start) off the second half of the season with a win."

Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 24 points and Ramon Sessions chipped in 13 off the bench for Cleveland, which dropped its second consecutive game. Tristan Thompson added a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.

The Celtics led by as many as 16 in the first half, but neither team led by more than three in a tightly contested fourth quarter.

Down just one, Irving hit two from the free throw line to give the Cavs an 81-80 edge with 1:21 remaining.

After Allen missed a jumper on the other end, the Celtics came up with a steal and Allen redeemed himself by finishing a fastbreak dunk to reestablish the Boston lead.

Irving then drove the lane on the ensuing Cavs' possession, but was off the mark on a runner in the lane. Cleveland elected to play defense rather than foul with 26 seconds left, but Garnett ripped down a board on his own miss and was fouled.

He knocked down two at the line to give Boston an 84-81 lead with 3.9 ticks left on the clock.

The Celtics chose to foul and after Irving nailed two at the line, Allen answered with two of his own at the other end to make it an 86-83 game with 2.4 seconds still to play.

Anthony Parker got a good look at the rim, but his three-point attempt hit the front of the iron to seal the Cavaliers' fate.

"That was a tough one to lose. I thought our guys really competed and played hard," said Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott. "Obviously, we didn't make enough shots. I loved the effort and as I told them after the game, we have to continue to play that hard if not harder."

Irving, who left the game briefly in the second quarter after bruising his elbow while taking a charge on Pierce, came out of the locker room scorching as he scored eight straight points for the Cavs, including a three-pointer that tied the game at 49.

Irving finished the quarter with 13 points to give the Cavs a slight 66-64 lead heading into the final frame.

The Cavs managed just five points, all from Sessions, over the final 7:20 of the first quarter, allowing the Celtics to reel off 13 straight en route to a 28-15 lead heading into the second.

Sessions finished a breakaway dunk to cut the deficit to single-digits, and Irving and Alonzo Gee added jumpers shortly after to cap a 12-2 Cavaliers spurt, as Cleveland trailed 43-38 at halftime.

Game Notes

Garnett now has 23,758 career points as he passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 18th All-time in NBA scoring...Boston will host Milwaukee Wednesday night, while the Cavaliers will travel to New York...The Cavs wrapped up their nine- game home stand at 4-5. The home stand marked the longest in team history and third longest in NBA history...Cleveland's Parker returned after missing the last 12 games with back spasms. He finished with one point and five assists.