Keys to the Game: Celtics 107, Cavaliers 94
It felt like the Celtics were climbing uphill all night long during Game 2 Tuesday night. That is, until they rattled off a five-point run that shook the core of the city.
After trailing by as many as 11 points, Boston had tied the score up at 69-69. But the Cavaliers answered back on their next possession with a driving floater from LeBron James to regain their lead.
In hindsight, that bucket from Cleveland didn’t matter, because the Celtics were about to run away with a 107-94 win.
Off of an inbound play, Marcus Smart lifted from the left corner to the left wing off of a staggered screen, and Terry Rozier found him wide-open, 27 feet from the basket. Smart caught the ball, squared up to the basket, and let it fly with confidence and no hesitation.
Smart’s 3-pointer gave Boston its first lead since the opening minutes of the game, when they hit the first shot of the night from beyond the arc.
The lead would only grow from there, supercharged by a high-flying dunk by Rozier.
Following a missed 3-pointer by J.R. Smith, a loose ball bounced around before it was tipped forward by Jaylen Brown. Rozier caught it on the run, and he was off to the races.
Rozier took three dribbles and eight steps, then planted his left foot and took off from the bottom of the key.
LeBron James thought about attempting a chase-down block from behind, but thought better of the idea.
Rozier cocked the ball back with his right hand and slammed it home with 4:07 remaining, sending the TD Garden crowd into hysteria. The building reached its peak decibel level, and Cleveland immediately called for a timeout.
An ineffective timeout.
The Celtics would go on to pull ahead by as many as 15 points from there on out as they built a 2-0 series lead.
LeBron James came out of the gates with a fury, scoring 21 points during the first quarter alone. Normally, that would knock a team onto its heels, but that didn’t happen with the Celtics, due in large part to Jaylen Brown.
Brown didn’t quite go toe-to-toe with James, but it was about as close as a player could be without turning superhuman like James had. Brown countered James by scoring 14 points of his own during the first quarter on 5-for-7 shooting, including a 3-for-5 performance from long range.
That offense was exactly what Boston needed to weather the storm.
Brown went on to total a team-high 23 points on the night. He shot 9-for-18 from the field and canned a team-best three 3-pointers. He also contributed seven rebounds, three assists and a steal during his 35 minutes of play.
Box Score Nuggets
- LeBron James tallied a triple-double that consisted of 42 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. The points and the assists were both game-high totals.
- Kevin Love bested James in the rebounding department with 15 boards. Love also scored 22 points.
- Both teams led by at least 11 points during the game.
- Boston scored 36 points during the third quarter.
- Jaylen Brown led the C's with 23 points.
- Both teams shot 10-for-31 from long range.
- Marcus Smart led the Celtics with nine assists.
- James committed as many turnovers (six) as Boston's entire team.
- Smart and Kyle Korver tied for the game-high in scoring off the bench with 11 points apiece.
- Smart grabbed a game-high four steals - twice as many as Cleveland's entire team (two).
- All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures, while only two of Cleveland's starters did so.
- Boston outscored Cleveland in the paint (50-42), in second-chance points (11-10), and in fast break points (12-9).
Quote of the Night
We have each other's backs.
Al Horford on he and his teammates.