Friday, December 15, 2023

Celtics 116, Cavaliers 107: Boston improves to 12-0 at home following sweep of Cavs

The Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-107 Thursday night at TD Garden, to sweep a two-game mini home-set.

Jayson Tatum once again was the team's highest scorer -- netting 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, while Jaylen Brown finished with 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting to go along with five rebounds and five assists to lead Boston past the Cavs for a second straight game after Tuesday's 120-113 victory

Kristaps Porzingis, who was listed as questionable with calf soreness just prior to tip-off, added 18 points, six rebounds, Jrue Holiday had 15 points and Derrick White chipped in 14 points, five rebounds as the C's improved to a perfect 12-0 record at home and 18-5 overall -- both a league-best.
"I think we were locked in, attention to detail," Holiday said in his postgame comments. "This game we kind of controlled the game from beginning to end, withstood their punches and were able to make plays down the stretch."
Donovan Mitchell had a game-high 31 points on 12-of-24 from the field, while Caris LeVert scored 26 points off the bench and Darius Garland recorded 19 points for the Cavs, who dropped to 13-12 on the season -- having lost three in a row.

Unlike the previous time these two teams met earlier in the week, where the Celtics had a 15-point deficit to climb out of in the first quarter, Cleveland didn't have a lead once last night and trailed by as many as 14.

The Cavaliers did make it interesting, as they were only down by three (90-87) entering the fourth quarter, before Tatum sparked a quick 9-2 spurt with just over eight minutes left to play. Boston had to withstand one last rally made by the Cavs to cut another double-digit deficit to five (107-102) on a drive by LeVert.

The Celtics responded with back-to-back dunks by Tatum as part of a 9-2 run -- that was capped off by an Al Horford 23-foot 3-pointer -- to clinch Boston its sixth win in seven tries.
"I thought we could have played a lot better, to be honest," Brown told reporters. "I thought we played a little lethargically and allowed them to keep the game kind of close. That's kind of dangerous against certain teams; they're in striking distance and can get hot at any moment. We've got to do a better job of putting teams away."
The C's started the night on fire, hitting 56.1% of their attempts -- including 8-of-17 from deep -- to take a 65-54 advantage into halftime. In the end both teams scored 50 points in the paint respectively, while Boston out-rebounded the Cavaliers 44-39.
"I think it's growth to constantly be challenged throughout the season," coach Joe Mazzulla said. "I've seen over the last two games our guys kind of staying at a certain level, really work to execute and play together."
The Celtics will remain at home to host Orlando (16-7) Friday on a second night of a back-to-back, before another facing off with the Magic again come Sunday afternoon.

Game Notes:

Boston was 50.6% from the field, including 13-of-36 (36.1%) from 3-point range while the Cavaliers were 48.2% from the floor and 11-of-33 (33.3%) from long distance. The Celtics dished out 22 assists (13 turnovers) on 43 baskets to Cleveland's 21 dimes (16 turnovers) on 40 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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