The Celtics Took Care Of Business And Hammered The Cavs In Game 1

If the Boston Celtics were rusty after not playing a basketball game in six days, you wouldn’t know it based on their performance in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Boston played host to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, and even without the services of the injured Kristaps Porzingis, looked once again like the best team in the East. By the time the horn sounded at the end of the fourth quarter, both teams had their benches emptied, as the Celtics cruised to a 120-95 win.

The first half was a battle between Jaylen Brown and Donovan Mitchell. The two All-Star wings led their teams over the game’s opening 24 minutes, with Brown heading into the locker room with a game-high 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting with four rebounds.

Mitchell, meanwhile, continued to play at an incredibly high level, going for 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

But the thing that mattered was the scoreboard, and Brown’s team had the edge. Boston took a 59-49 lead into the locker room despite a subpar (by their lofty standards) 6-for-22 clip from behind the three-point line. It certainly helped that both Derrick White and Jayson Tatum pitched in 11 points, while Isaac Okoro was the only other Cavaliers player to hit double-figures, as he also scored 11.

Neither team was able to gain much of a foothold in the third quarter. While the Cavs weren’t able to put together the type of run that got them right back into the game — well, other than Mitchell, who had 16 points in the frame — Boston couldn’t quite go on a run that was able to put Cleveland away, even though White had 14 points in the quarter.

As a result, the Celtics were able to take a 92-77 lead into the fourth, and while it was certainly a comfortable lead, it did not feel like it was insurmountable if Mitchell was able to get a bit of help. But at the very start of the fourth, Boston was able to land a haymaker, as the team took advantage of Mitchell getting a rest at the start of the period by going on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to 23.

Brown led the way for Boston, as he put up 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting with six rebounds. White continued his excellent postseason, as well, as he had 25 points and five assists, and while Tatum did not have the best night of his career, he managed to have 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Mitchell’s 33 points paced the Cavaliers, while Evan Mobley had 17 points and 13 rebounds on the night.

Game 2 between the Celtics and the Cavaliers will take place on Thursday night in Boston. It’s scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN.