Keys to the Game: Cavaliers 132, Celtics 123 (OT)

Key Moment

Jaylen Brown seemed to give the Boston Celtics extra life in overtime Friday night when he knocked down a 3-pointer, snagged a steal, and threw down a fast-break dunk all in succession to tie his team up with the Cleveland Cavaliers at 121 apiece with 2:54 remaining.

That was until Caris LeVert sucked the life right out of them with 11 straight points to close out the game.

Immediately after Brown’s emphatic slam, LeVert put Cleveland back on top with a step-back 3-pointer. He then made four trips to the free-throw line and converted each attempt.

Brown made two free-throws of his own in the midst of LeVert’s tear, but those would be the only two points Boston put on the board down the stretch before LeVert delivered the final dagger: another step-back triple on which he was fouled and converted into a four-point play.

LeVert’s late dominance carried Cleveland to its fourth straight win by a score of 132-123 at TD Garden.

Key Player

It’s not often that we give the Key Player nod to an opposing player. It’s even more unusual that we give it to two of them.

However, it’s not every day that you see a pair of teammates go off for matching 41-point efforts, which is exactly what Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell did Friday night.

Mitchell scored his 41 on a 15-of-26 effort from the field, while making 5-of-9 from deep and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. LeVert dropped in his 41 via a 12-of-21 effort from the field, a 6-of-8 performance from long range, and an 11-of-12 effort from the stripe.

Mitchell carried the team in regulation, which is when he dropped 36 of his points. Then LeVert put the Cavs on his back in overtime, scoring 11 of their 18 points in the extra period.

The backcourt mates became the second Cavaliers duo to score 40-plus apiece, joining Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, who accomplished the feat in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, this time, it came at the Celtics’ expense.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland in scoring with 41 points apiece.
  • Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring with 32 points apiece.
  • The Cavs got two double-doubles from Jarrett Allen (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Evan Mobley (19 points, 10 rebounds).
  • Boston had a slight edge in field-goal percentage, shooting 51.2 percent to Cleveland's 51.1 percent.
  • The C's assisted on 28 of their 42 field goals.
  • Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White had two steals apiece.
  • Smart and LeVert tied for the game-lead in assists with seven.
  • Sam Hauser finished with a plus-23 despite his team's nine-point loss.
  • The game featured 12 lead changes and nine ties.
  • Boston had a 54-48 advantage in points in the paint.

Quote of the Night

"We have to earn every win."

Joe Mazzulla