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The Cavaliers came alive late in the third quarter on Monday night in Boston. Unfortunately, they were already too deep in the hole.
Cleveland closed the third with a 14-2 run to cut into Boston’s 29-point lead, but used up most of their energy in that stretch – as Boston pulled away late to take the 110-88 decision and send the Wine & Gold to their seventh-straight loss.
The Celtics shot 58 percent from the floor, 56 percent from deep and featured all five starters in double-figures in the win. Cleveland, on the other hand, struggled to fill the cylinder – shooting just 40 percent from the floor, 23 percent from deep and 47 percent from the stripe.
Aside from his own struggles from the free throw line, Tristan Thompson was outstanding on Monday – doubling-up with 17 points and a team-high 11 boards, going 8-of-11 from the floor in the loss.
Cleveland’s other four starters were a combined 12-of-42 from the floor.
Jordan Clarkson had his best game in a couple weeks – coming off the bench to tally 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-8 from long-distance to go with three boards, three assists and a steal.
Kevin Porter Jr. didn’t reach double-figure scoring, but he played a solid floor game – notably after intermission – finishing with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding two boards, two assists, three steals and a blocked shot in 23 minutes of work.
Kevin Love finished with 10 boards, but he struggled from the floor – finishing with seven points on 3-for-12 shooting.
Kemba Walker led both squads with 22 points for Boston – saving his best for last, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the final quarter.
Kevin Porter Jr. finds Jordan Clarkson with the precision pass in the second frame of Tuesday's game in Boston.
The Wine & Gold were down a baker’s dozen at half against a Boston squad that hadn’t lost on its home floor all season. But things got out of hand in the early moments of the second stanza.
Jayson Tatum started the scoring with a finger-roll to put the Celtics up 15, and after buckets by Daniel Theis and Kemba Walker, drilled a triple to cap a 9-1 run – forcing Coach John Beilein to get things under control.
But by that point, Boston was up three TDs. The Celts would eventually stretch their lead to 29 before the Cavs closed the quarter strong to keep things competitive.
18 … double-figure scoring games that Jordan Clarkson has posted so far this season – tying him with L.A.’s Lou Williams for the second-best mark in the league (behind only Montrezl Harrell’s 19).
Clarkson’s 14.5 ppg average places him 9th in the NBA among all reserves, and he’s averaging 16.3 ppg over his last three meetings against Boston.
Kevin Porter Jr., on his reserve role with the Cavaliers …
"Coming off the bench you just want to give as much energy as you can and do whatever it takes to win. For me that’s scoring, cutting, assisting, playing and guarding the best player. That’s what I was supposed to do, I just want to come off the bench with great energy and try to give my all for the team."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
The Cavaliers make a brief stop at home on Wednesday night, but they’ll have their hands full – taking on James Harden and the Rockets on Wednesday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
On Thursday night, the Wine & Gold get right back on the road for three more – traveling to San Antonio for their first meeting with the Spurs followed by a Saturday night matchup with Milwaukee before wrapping up on Monday in Toronto.