Mihm, Davis Combine for 20 in W

Mihm, Davis Combine for 20 in W

January 10, 2004

No one had to read between the lines to figure out how much a good performance against the Cavaliers meant to Ricky Davis.

First, there were the derogatory comments Davis directed at Cleveland, both the city and the franchise. Then, there was Davis wildly waving a towel from the bench with the Celtics enjoying a more-than-comfortable lead. When the Celtics headed to the sideline, Davis had a handshake, high-five, or hug for as many of his new teammates as he could reach.

A 3-pointer by Davis with 2:28 left in the third quarter pushed Boston past a 20-point lead for the first time in the game as the home team cruised to a 107-82 victory. After Kedrick Brown hit a 3-pointer to bring Cleveland within 9 (58-49) less than three minutes into the third, Boston responded with a 24-11 run capped by the Davis 3-pointer that put them ahead, 82-60.

The run effectively sealed the contest and the fourth quarter played out as little more than a formality. The final period also gave Davis a chance to pad his point total (16) and enjoy the victory from the floor.

It would be unfair to the Cavaliers to view last night's loss as a measure of the trade. Cleveland has been a better team since the deal that sent Davis, Chris Mihm, and Michael Stewart to Boston in exchange for Tony Battie, Eric Williams, and Brown.

The Celtics have never quite been the same since the trade, but last night's victory improved their record to .500. It also marked the 12th time this season - and second straight game - the Celtics have scored more than 100 points.

Since the deal, the Celtics have hovered around .500. Now, they are looking to get above .500 for the first time since Nov. 11. The Celtics are one game below .500 (10-11) at home.

Mihm and Davis combined for 20 points; Brown, Williams, and Battie 27. Williams (8 points) had just 19 minutes of playing time because of foul trouble.

The Celtics were led by another double-double from Paul Pierce (30 points, 12 rebounds). In a substandard performance before a soldout FleetCenter, LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 19 points and six assists.

The game started with a warm welcome for Williams, Brown, and Battie and an unusually high amount of friendly chatter between the teams.

Since the Cavaliers have five former Celtics (J.R. Bremer and Bruno Sundov are the other two) on their roster, that was to be expected. But as the first half progressed, it was clear the six players involved in the Dec. 15 deal between Boston and Cleveland simply wanted their new team to win.

The Cavaliers' final possession of the second quarter ended with James and Davis matched up at midcourt. When they played together in Cleveland, reports surfaced that Davis didn't like all the attention and touches James was getting. But with Davis crouching down on defense last night, James wisely passed the ball to Dajuan Wagner, who hit a 12-footer to knock the Boston lead below double digits.

Boston entered the break ahead, 52-43, and shooting 50 percent behind strong efforts from Pierce (17 points) and Jiri Welsch (10). The Celtics held the Cavaliers below 40 percent and none of the visitors broke the double-figure mark.

Still, after falling behind by 14 points early in the second quarter, the Cavaliers staged a 10-2 run and closed within 6 points on a 20-footer from James. Boston reestablished a double- digit lead down the stretch in the second and it stayed that way until the Wagner shot.

The Celtics owed much of their halftime lead to a strong start. They shot 54 percent (13 for 24) in the first quarter.

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