Celtics

Celtics Too Deep for Outmatched Cavs

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It was the Jaylen Brown show in TD Garden.

The star wing picked apart the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 120-95 Game 1 win, scoring an efficient 32 points. The Boston Celtics dominated from the jump, pulling away in the fourth quarter to earn the win. Cleveland struggled to muster much offense behind a 33-point showing from score-first guard Donovan Mitchell. Shooting guard Derrick White also starred, burying seven three-pointers to end with 25 points.

Aside from a shocking 111-101 Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat, Boston has lived up to their billing this postseason as the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics won 64 games in a historic regular-season showing, a performance that heightened their postseason expectations. It’s the first time the franchise has won 60+ games since their championship-winning season in 2008.

Boston was the more efficient team from the field and the three-point line, shooting almost 50% on field-goal attempts while knocking down 39% of their shots beyond the arc.  The Cavaliers missed starting center Jarrett Allen, who sat out his fourth-straight game with a rib injury. Without Allen to shore up the offensive glass, they lost the rebound battle 38-55.

Bench points also decided this game, as backup point guard Payton Pritchard outscored the Cleveland bench by himself. He scored 16 points and made four three-pointers, dishing out five assists.

Aside from Pritchard’s contributions, forward Jayson Tatum collected a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, adding a game-high three blocks despite an off-shooting night. Reserve big man Luke Kornet grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench with starting center Kristaps Porzingis out.

Brown got off to a hot start as he made his first five shots, but Cleveland remained within striking distance of Boston in the first half. The Celtics went into halftime with just a 59-49 advantage despite the poor offensive showing from the Cavaliers. It wasn’t until the second half that Boston began to extend their lead.

While the Cavaliers had their hands full with Brown, White dropped 14 points in the third quarter. He did most of his damage from the right wing, making four three-pointers from that spot. The 29-year-old drilled his final one right in the face of Cleveland backup guard Sam Merrill for his 7th of the game.

In the fourth quarter, the Celtics clamped down defensively as Mitchell didn’t score a single basket. He only attempted one shot, and Cleveland looked lost on offense as Boston went on to win.

For Boston to win this series, the key will be not to get complacent. These Celtics are a completely different team compared to the last time these two franchises met in the playoffs when now-Lakers forward LeBron James carried the Cavaliers to a Game 7 win in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.

If this first game was any indication, the Celtics are too deep and too talented for the banged-up Cavaliers.

About Henry Daley

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