CLEVELAND: It was Super Hero Night at Quicken Loans Arena. It didn’t mean the Cavaliers had to make Kelly Olynyk look like one.
But that’s what happened, as the Cavs’ defense was non-existent for the second night in a row in a 111-99 loss to the Boston Celtics.
Olynyk led Boston (25-55) with 25 points and 12 rebounds, which tied and set career highs, respectively. He was nearly unstoppable in the first half, shooting 9-of-13 from the field for 20 points and eight rebounds and drove right past Cavaliers defenders on multiple occasions.
By that time, the Celtics led 60-42 and the game was in hand.
And then it got worse.
The Celtics came out of the locker room after halftime and in just over a minute pushed their lead to 68-42 on two 3-pointers and a jumper from Brandon Bass. At the end of the third quarter, the Celtics led by 31 points, 89-58.
One night after allowing 119 points to the lowly Milwaukee Bucks, the Cavaliers’ defense again was thrashed by a team getting ready for the NBA Lottery. The Celtics finished off the season sweep of the Cavs, winning all three games and scoring at least 100 points each time.
Aside from Olynyk’s career night, Avery Bradley scored 25 points and Jeff Green and Brandon Bass each scored 19 points.
For the Cavs, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack each scored 15 points. Tristan Thompson added 14. Anderson Varejao, Alonzo Gee and Matthew Dellavedova scored 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
It was a night of almosts for the Cavs. In the first quarter, Varejao made a terrific behind-the-back pass to Thompson. But Thompson failed to convert the layup.
A few minutes later, Irving had a great cross-over to create some space and drew some “oohs” from the crowd. But he missed the jumper.
On a particular possession in the second quarter, the Cavs put together a solid 24 seconds of pressure defense. But they didn’t box out, and Bradley got an easy put-back dunk without anyone near him.
In the fourth quarter, Gee posterized Joel Anthony with a dunk and was fouled. But he missed the free throw.
Luol Deng missed the game with lower back soreness, allowing Gee to start the game. Coach Mike Brown said Deng has been banged up for most of the season, and that there isn’t any rush to try to get him back into the lineup to close out the season.
“If he is, he is. If he’s not, then we just keep playing whoever can play,” Brown said.
Brown also said that getting rookie Anthony Bennett some playing time as the season winds to a close would be a positive for the team, but not if it puts his health at risk. Bennett, who is out with a left patellar tendon strain, hasn’t appeared in a game since March 8 against the New York Knicks and hasn’t played more than 20 minutes in a game since Feb. 28, against Philadelphia.
Due to his erratic appearances, it’s been tough for Brown to really see what Bennett has to offer going forward.
“Yes and no,” Brown said when asked if he’s been able to evaluate Bennett in his rookie season. “Meaning you’re able to see flashes of his ability and talent, more than enough to get you excited. But then again, he’s missed chunks of games, especially as of late. To be able to see more consistency was tough.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.