COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jeff McInnis hit two 3-pointers in a late 10-point run to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 95-88 preseason win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
The game included sniping between Boston’s Paul Pierce and the Cavaliers’ LeBron James after a spitting incident late in the third quarter.
Drew Gooden, acquired from Orlando in an offseason trade, had 25 points. James scored 21 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 13 before fouling out, and McInnis scored 12 for the Cavaliers, who improved to 5-1.
Pierce and Gary Payton each scored 14 points, and Mark Blount had 13 for the Celtics, who lost for the sixth time in seven preseason games.
With the score tied at 83, McInnis hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Cavaliers the lead for good with 3:28 remaining. He later added another 3-pointer from nearly the same spot, with Gooden and James each hitting inside baskets during the run.
Late in the third quarter, Pierce spit at the Cleveland bench after yelling at the Cavaliers substitutes to sit down.
Pierce had beaten James on a crossover dribble and then hit a fallaway before James answered with a long jumper. James then stole the ball from Pierce and dunked.
Pierce then confronted the Cleveland bench, leaving the game soon after to a chorus of boos from the crowd of 8,795 at Ohio State’s Value City Arena. Both he and James were assessed technicals for jawing at each other.
Boston, which opens the season Nov. 3 at home against Philadelphia, trailed by as many as 13 points in the opening half. The Celtics took the lead at 80-78 midway through the fourth quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Walter McCarty.
Gooden scored 10 of the Cavaliers’ first 20 points before going scoreless in the second quarter.
Cleveland, which just missed the playoffs last year with a 35-47 record, has two more exhibition games before opening the season Nov. 3 at home against Indiana.
Dajuan Wagner, expected to contend for playing time at point guard, did not make the trip for the Cavaliers because of a sprained right ankle.
PBT: San Antonio raced out to a 25-point lead at home, pushed back on Memphis’ big third-quarter run, shut down Zach Randolph and cruised to a 105-83 win.
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