CLEVELAND — Guard Marcus Smart scored 19 points, forward Evan Turner passed for a career-high 13 assists and the Boston Celtics maintained their hold on the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with a 99-90 victory Friday night over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers, ending the Cavs’ 18-game home winning streak.
The Cavaliers played without guards Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, who were resting injuries. Irving sat with a right hip that was bothering him at the morning shootaround and Shumpert rested a bruised thigh.
The Cavs officially called Shumpert’s injury a right quad contusion, but neither his injury nor Irving’s are considered serious.
The Cavs have nothing left to gain during the regular season, having already won the Central Division and clinched the second seed in the East. As a result, coach David Blatt rested his starters in the fourth quarter, allowing the Celtics to escape after they blew a 16-point lead in the third quarter.
Cleveland looked lethargic and disinterested at the start, allowing the Celtics to race to a 16-4 lead. Boston maintained a 54-40 lead at the break and pushed the lead to 16 early in the third quarter before the Cavs came roaring back.
Forward LeBron James made a concerted effort to quicken the pace in the third quarter in an effort to inject some life into a lethargic team. Little-used Mike Miller helped him by scoring 11 of the Cavs’ 37 points in the quarter and Cleveland tightened defensively.
The Cavs scored 12 consecutive points in the third quarter and 15 of 17. Miller’s 3-pointer and ensuing free throws on the following possession gave Cleveland its only lead of the game at 70-69 with 2:54 left in the quarter.
Forward Kevin Love had 19 points and six rebounds — including 4-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers — James had 14 points and seven assists and center Tristan Thompson grabbed 12 rebounds for the Cavs. Center Timofey Mozgov added 13 points.
Guard Isaiah Thomas had 17 points off the bench, guard Avery Bradley scored 15 points and former Cavs center Tyler Zeller had 13 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who remain tied at the bottom of the playoff bracket with the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics, however, hold the tiebreaker.
James said he never considered taking the game off, although he made no promises about games moving forward. He is expected to rest at some point before the close of the regular season, perhaps Sunday in the rematch between the two teams in Boston.
Pacers 107, Pistons 103
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey scored 24 points apiece and the Indiana Pacers extended their winning streak to four games with a 107-103 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night at The Palace.
The shooting guard duo combined for eight 3-pointers for the Pacers (36-43), who entered the night one game behind Boston and Brooklyn for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Point guard George Hill had 13 points and nine assists and small forward Paul George added 10 points in his third game back after recovering from a broken leg.
Indiana center Roy Hibbert had 10 points and 11 rebounds while power forward David West chipped in 10 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Point guard Reggie Jackson’s 21 points and nine assists led the Pistons (30-49), who were eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the week. Power forward Greg Monroe contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds while shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 points and reserve shooting guard Jodie Meeks supplied 15 points.
Center Andre Drummond collected his 46th double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit.
Stuckey scored 10 second-quarter points as the Pacers grabbed a 51-47 halftime lead. Stuckey had a four-point play and a 3-pointer during the quarter and George buried a 3 on Indiana’s last possession after Detroit pulled within one.
A 12-2 Pistons run, capped by a Monroe layup, gave Detroit a 73-68 third-quarter lead. Another George 3-pointer in the final minute of the quarter helped the Pacers pull even at 79 entering the fourth.
The Pistons scored nine unanswered points early in the fourth, including a steal and dunk by Monroe, for a 91-85 lead. The Pacers responded with a 10-2 run, including two Miles 3-pointers, to regain the lead at 95-93.