Cavaliers Rout Celtics, End 10-Game Losing Streak At Boston

Cleveland outscores the Celtics by 21 points in the fourth quarter to end a nine-game losing streak at Boston but loses Shaquille O'Neal to a thumb injury. LeBron James has 36 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

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Cavaliers Use Small Lineup For Big Victory Over Celtics

When Shaquille O'Neal left the game with a thumb injury in the first quarter, Cleveland was forced to go with a smaller lineup. The result was the Cavs biggest win of the season, says Fear The Sword, SB Nation's Cavaliers blog.

It could not have started off any worse for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It could not have ended any better.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came into Boston, having not won since January 3, 2007, overcame a 13-point deficit, and shut down the Boston Celtics 108-88.

This has to be our best win of the season. More than the win at the LA Lakers. In that game, we dominated almost the entire afternoon. Also more than the win in Miami, because we came back immediately at end of the 2nd quarter and stayed with the Heat all game long.

Sure, the Celtics played without Paul Pierce, who is out indefinitely with a sprained right thumb. But Shaq's injury left the Cavaliers without a backup center (since they traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas last week) against one of the most physical teams in the conference.

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Cavaliers Rout Celtics, End 10-Game Losing Streak At Boston

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - LeBron James scored 36, and Mo Williams tallied 14 of his 19 points in the final quarter, as the Cavaliers overcame a thumb injury to Shaquille O'Neal and surged in the second half for a 108-88 win over the Boston Celtics.

James also had seven rebounds and nine assists. Anderson Varejao had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who dominated to the tune of a 60-32 scoring margin in the second half. They outscored Boston, 35-14, in the last quarter for a second consecutive victory.

O'Neal suffered a significant sprain to his right thumb in the first half and didn't return.

Boston had beaten the Cavs nine straight times at home, including playoffs. This was Cleveland's first win in Beantown since Jan. 3, 2007..

"You get the monkey off your back, don't look too far into it though," James said. "We played well enough to win, but we have another game tomorrow against Toronto and we hope to play the same way."

Ray Allen had 21 points to lead the Celtics, who had won four of their last five games entering Thursday. Rajon Rondo contributed 19 points and 11 assists, while Kevin Garnett ended with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston played without Paul Pierce, who missed his second straight game due to a sore right thumb. The Celtics missed him in a big way, as they went just 3- of-21 shooting in the last quarter.

"We got everything we wanted," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I really thought the difference of the two halves was in the first half Cleveland played like us. The ball didn't move for them offensively; they were a one pass, shot offense. We were attacking and we were multiple pass, multiple pick In the second half, we became them and they attacked us."

The Celtics held a 56-48 lead at halftime but then went just 9-of-41 from the field over the final 24 minutes. Meanwhile, the Cavs made 22-of-34 shots over the same span.

James and Antawn Jamison fueled a late Cavs rally in the third quarter, as the visitors finished the period on a 14-6 spurt, getting within 74-73 on a James free throw in the final second.

Tony Allen hit a pair of free throws to give Boston a 78-77 edge with 9:57 left, but the Cavs then dominated the ensuing 5 1/2 minutes, going on a 20-5 spurt. Williams canned a trio of three-pointers, and Delonte West added another during the flurry, which finished with a pair of James foul shots with 4:26 to go. The 97-83 margin was too much to overcome for the Celtics.

Boston raced to a 31-21 lead after 12 minutes and was ahead by as many as 13 in the second quarter before O'Neal got hurt. He exited midway through the second quarter. O'Neal was going up for a shot when Boston's Glen Davis came up with a block, but Davis' hand made contact with O'Neal's right thumb, bending it backward.

O'Neal went to the locker room with 6:58 left in the half.

"I thought we played faster without Shaq in the lineup," James said. "We run into more pick and rolls, but you know, we need Shaq out there. He's going to take as much time as he needs to get back out there, but we need him out there. In the playoffs you can't play fast all the time, you have to be able to slow down and execute in the half court, and that's what he gives us."

The Cavs finished 52.6 percent from the field...Former Celtics forward Leon Powe played in his first game of the season with his new team, scoring four points.

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