Keys to the Game: Cavaliers 91, Celtics 89

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

Thanks to an inspired comeback by the Cleveland Cavaliers, which saw them battle back from 19 points down during the second half, Saturday night’s matchup in Cleveland came down to two free throws and a missed jumper, all during the final 10 seconds.

Unfortunately for Boston, those two free throws were made by Cleveland, and the missed jumper came off the fingers of its speedy point guard.

With the game tied up at 89-89 during the final 15 seconds, Darius Garland was able to beat Marcus Smart off the dribble on a drive to the basket that wound up drawing a foul on Smart. Garland connected on both of his free throws to push Cleveland ahead 91-89 with 9.4 seconds left.

Boston called for timeout and, per Ime Udoka’s postgame comments, got what it was looking for on the final possession of the night. Dennis Schroder, who had scored a game-high 28 points up to that moment in the game, was given the chance to tie the game on a drive toward the basket. However, his defender, Cedi Osman, was able to stay in front of him to force a baseline jumper out of Schroder. The high-arcing shot was taken from about two feet outside the right side of the lane and bounced off of the front of the rim at the buzzer to seal Cleveland’s 91-89 victory.

Key Player

Rob Williams is proving his impact to the league each and every night. Saturday night’s double-double in Cleveland was just the latest evidence.

Williams’ 12 points and game-high 16 rebounds secured his sixth double-double of the season. Those 16 boards also tied a career high and were seven more than any player on the opposing team tallied during the contest. Williams also tied Evan Mobley for the game high in blocked shots with three, dished out three assists and grabbed one steal.

As per usual, Boston’s starting center was about as efficient as he could possibly be at the offensive end of the floor. He made six of his seven shot attempts on the night, giving him Boston’s top field goal percentage at 85.7 percent.

Unsurprisingly, Boston was outstanding while Williams was on the floor. The C’s outscored Cleveland by 13 during his nearly 34 minutes of action, giving him the top plus/minus rating on the team.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Dennis Schroder scored a game-high 28 points.
  • Boston committed 19 turnovers.
  • Rob Williams grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, which tied his career high and was 10 more than the next-best total on the team.
  • Williams and Evan Mobley tied for the game high in blocked shots with three apiece.
  • Ricky Rubio was the game's top reserve, as he notched 16 points to outscore Boston's entire bench (15 points), while also dishing seven assists.
  • Smart dished out a game-high eight assists.
  • The C's limited Cleveland to just 38.3 percent shooting on the night.
  • Mobley tallied 19 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, two steals and one assist.
  • Williams logged 12 points, 16 rebounds, three blocked shots, three assists and one steal.
  • In a spot start, Grant Williams scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds, while making all three of his 3-pointers.

Quote of the Night

Dennis Schroder on Jayson Tatum's shooting struggles