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Now we have a series: Cavaliers come alive in Boston to even the score

In Sports
May 10, 2024
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley, center, and guard Caris LeVert, right, and Boston Celtics center Luke Kornet watch the ball get away during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 9, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Cleveland Cavaliers finally won their first road game of the NBA playoffs, surprising the Boston Celtics and the TD Garden crowd with a 118–94 win in Game 2 of their second-round series. The series is tied at 1–1 going into Saturday’s Game 3 at Cleveland.

Early on, it looked like the Cavs might win a playoff game without Donovan Mitchell scoring the majority of their points. After averaging 39 points over Cleveland’s past three playoff games, Mitchell had only six points at halftime. But he took over in the second half, scoring 16 in the third quarter and 29 for the game.

Cleveland took control in the second half, outscoring the Celtics 64–40. With approximately five minutes remaining in the game, Boston coach Joe Mazzulla conceded and put most of his bench on the court while the home fans headed for the exits.

The Cavs initially fell behind by nine points in the first quarter, but roared back with an 11–0 run fueled by Evan Mobley‘s 11 points with help from Caris LeVert‘s six off the bench. Cleveland took an 30–24 lead at the end of the quarter, quieting the Boston crowd.

However, Boston came back in the second quarter as Mobley and LeVert cooled off, while Mitchell and Darius Garland didn’t look for their shots. Jayson Tatum led all first-half scorers with 16 points with six rebounds and four assists, though he shot 3-for-10 from the field. Al Horford‘s 11 points (with 4-for-5 shooting on three-pointers) helped a rally that resulted in a 19–3 Celtics run and a halftime tie of 54–54.

Mobley’s scoring slowed down due to foul trouble, but he still finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. LeVert provided a boost while Mitchell and Garland tried to warm up, adding 21 points and six rebounds. Garland finished with 14 points, and Isaac Okoro and Max Strus each scored 12.

Tatum scored 25 points in total for the Celtics, but shot 7-for-17 from the field. No one else in Boston’s lineup shot much better. Derrick White managed 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting (including 1-for-8 from three). Jaylen Brown had the best shooting night, going 7-for-15 to score 19 points.

Outside shooting has been an issue for the Cavaliers during the playoffs, but they had a three-point shooting breakthrough in Game 3. Cleveland shot 46 percent (13-for-28) from behind the arc, led by Mitchell’s 5-for-7 performance with Garland going 4-for-5. Strus added another two from three-point range, with Mobley and Okoro each hitting one.

Jarrett Allen missed his fifth consecutive playoff game for the Cavs with a right rib contusion, while Kristaps Porzingis has been out for the Celtics’ past two games with a calf injury.

Game 3 of the Celtics-Cavaliers is scheduled for Saturday in Cleveland. Tip-off is 8:30 p.m. ET with the telecast on ABC.

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