Once again, LeBron and Pierce star at the Garden

Once again, LeBron and Pierce star at the Garden

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the Celtics' 121-99 loss to Cleveland:

Paul Pierce

He didn’t take a single shot, didn’t log a single minute on the floor. But make no mistake about it: this was his day. The outcome wasn’t anything close to what Celtics Nation would have liked to have seen, but a chance to witness Pierce’s jersey No. 34 going up to the rafters...Priceless.

LeBron James
Things got so out of hand for Cleveland that LeBron James only played a little more than one half of the game. That said, in 28 minutes he still managed a double-double of 24 points and 10 assists, finishing just two rebounds shy of what would have been his third straight triple-double.

Marcus Morris
Getting the starting nod, Marcus Morris made the most of it by doing what he seems to do best for Boston – get buckets. He would tally 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting.

Jordan Clarkson
That element of instant offense that the Cavs know they need coming off the bench, Clarkson showed he may be the guy to provide that going forward. He had 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Terry Rozier
It wasn’t one of his better shooting nights, but to Rozier’s credit, he appeared to compete at a high level throughout his time on the floor. He would tally 16 points off the bench along with nine rebounds.

Rodney Hood
Another first-timer for the Cavs, Hood looked very comfortable with Cleveland’s second unit, finishing with 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

Kyrie Irving
He had 18 points and shot 7-for-14 from the field, which are both solid numbers. But the Celtics desperately needed him to elevate his play today, and that never happened. Irving has the kind of talent that has to be held to a much higher standard – a superstar standard – compared to most players. And on this day, against his former team, Irving never came close to meeting that standard.


Celtics-Cavaliers preview: How will C's respond to blowout Game 3 loss?

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: How will C's respond to blowout Game 3 loss?

CLEVELAND – This season has been one lesson learned after another for the Boston Celtics, a team that has taken those teachings and transformed them into better play moving forward. 

It is a trend the Celtics hope to continue tonight as they try and bounce back from a 116-86 Game 3 thrashing at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers who now trail Boston 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. 

“All season I feel like we've been learning,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “We've been put in different positions. And now we're in a position that we need to bounce back, and (tonight) we have a good opportunity.”

Boston doesn’t have a ton of experience this season when it comes to suffering double-digit losses. 

In fact, the Celtics only suffered nine losses by 10 or more points this season. 

But here’s the thing: 

You hear players on this team talk all the time about putting the last game quickly behind them, win or lose. 

Well, that has certainly been the case when they have suffered losses by 10 or more points, evident by them posting an impressive 8-1 regular season record in the games that followed double-digit defeats. 

So if the Celtics seem extremely calm right now, that’s why.

“Everybody loses games,” said Boston’s Jayson Tatum. “The NBA is such a quick turnaround that you really can't be down, especially in the playoffs.”

The Celtics will be fine in terms of their approach mentally to Game 4. The bigger issue is doing a better job of executing at both ends of the floor and doing so without being thrown off their rhythm by the crowd noise that’s pumped into the Quicken Loans Arena that players acknowledged made communicating tougher than usual in Game 3.

“It's going to be loud. But that can't be an excuse for us,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The young guys know that. It's alright, it's one game. The one thing about this sport, you get a chance to go out there and do it again, so it's a blessing to have that opportunity.”

And for the Celtics, tonight’s game offers more than just a chance to exact some payback for a dismal Game 3 performance. It also moves them one step closer towards the NBA Final.

But make no mistake about it. 

The sting of how thoroughly the Celtics were outplayed is indeed on the minds of some players heading into tonight’s game. 

“I use it as fuel because I thought it was embarrassing,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “I thought we came out, the way I played, the way I performed, how not aggressive I was in the first half, I look at that as fuel to come out in Game 3 and be excited about it and be ready to play and ready to fight.

Brown added, “We can't look at the last game and get down on ourselves or

think we're out of the series because we lost one game. That's what the world thinks, that's what the world wants us to think, so we're going to come out and play some basketball (tonight), regardless of what anybody got to say.”


David Ortiz once came through in the clutch for Al Horford's wedding

David Ortiz once came through in the clutch for Al Horford's wedding

David Ortiz doesn't only come through in the clutch when he's in the batter's box.

He also delivers in clutch situations off the field. Take Al Horford's wedding for example. The Celtics big man had a last-minute wedding in the Dominican Republic and desperately needed a car to pick up his wife-to-be. Big Papi saved the day, sending Horford his Phantom and a driver. He even let them keep the car for a couple of days.

Horford told the story to the NBCS Camera Guys, who you should definitely follow on Twitter if you haven't already. . .