Celtics Avenge Season Opening Loss in Cleveland, Defeat Cavs 102-88 at Home.
For the first time since last May, the Celtics welcomed the Cleveland Cavaliers to the TD Garden for a prime time match-up. All the talk going into this one was about Isaiah Thomas. After recovering from offseason hip surgery, the former Celtics guard made his first appearance of the season on Tuesday against the Blazers, which meant he would not be playing on Wednesday. There has been plenty of drama and storylines since that trade happened, but I’m here to talk about the game.
This is just my opinion, but I do not think this game lived up to the hype it was receiving. Like I said, the Cavs were coming off a second night of a back-to-back, and I think that limited what they could do. LeBron James and Kyle Korver were just about the only two guys who made an impact. No one on the Cavs scored more than 19 points, and no one who took 10 or more shots shot better than 53% from the field, both happened to be LeBron James. All and all, the Cavs could only muster 88 points total, which is something considering they rank third in the NBA in terms of Offensive Rating. I guess that can happen when you go up against the team with the best Defensive Rating in the NBA, the Boston Celtics.
As for those Celtics, there was not much they could do wrong. The Cavs looked sluggish and they took advantage of it. Kyrie Irving had an off night, but that did not seem to matter. Terry Rozier was the star in this one, and he put up a team-high 20 points while playing only 19 minutes.
The 23 year-old has really shown how much he has grown in his third season, and last night was just evidence of it. Coming off the bench, Rozier provides the Celtics the scoring they seem to desperately need at times. Another thing that has helped Rozier is the improvement in his three-point game. After last night, he is now shooting a career-best 37.9% from deep, which has raised his career average up to 33.9%.
Besides Rozier, Jaywatch also put together a solid effort. Jayson Tatum was second on the team in scoring, finishing with 15 points to go along with a team-best +/- of +21. On the other end, Jaylen Brown had the highlight of the night with this vicious dunk to go along with 14 points and 8 rebounds.
This win puts the Celtics at 31 for the season, halfway through the season. Because of a game in London later this month, the Celtics have actually played the most games in the NBA this season. At 31-10, they are on pace to win 62 games, which would be the most since they won 62 back in 2009. I don’t mean to get ahead of myself, I just wanted to share that information. Having won their last four games, the Celtics will look to make it five in a row tomorrow night as they host the new-look Minnesota Timberwolves, led by Jimmy Butler. I leave you with this:
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) January 4, 2018