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The Cleveland Cavaliers started slow against the Boston Celtics tonight, down by as many as 10 points in the first half, but came back to defeat the Celtics 99-91 in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. The victory gave the Cavs a 2-0 series lead going into Boston for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Sunday.
The Cavs got their first basket on a fast-break Kevin Love three-pointer eight seconds into their first possession of the game. From that point, Cleveland connected on just two field goals until the 5:39 mark of the second quarter. Irving got the Cavaliers going with a pair of baskets, and Mozgov followed it up with three straight field goals inside, including a beautiful dunk by LeBron James. Together, they combined for 15 straight points to tie the game up 23 apiece. Cleveland trailed 25-26 after one quarter of play.
Cleveland and exchanged baskets for much of the second quarter as neither team was able to break away and take a big lead. Cleveland led Boston 51-50 at halftime.
The Cavs came out of the gates firing in the third quarter, going on a 17-4 scoring run to blow their lead up to 68-54. This huge run was sparked by the Cavs’ ability to get to the free throw line, shooting 9-for-9, and by two highlight reel dunks from Kevin Love and LeBron James. Despite the 14 point lead, Boston got back within seven and trailed 68-75 after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter was all about LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, as the duo combined to score all of Cleveland’s 24 fourth quarter points. LeBron James scored 15 in the fourth while Irving added nine. Some of the plays were bad, bailout isolation plays, but James and Irving were able to take advantage of the undersized and slower Celtics to guide the Cavs to a 99-91 victory.
LeBron James led the way with 30 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks, but also had six turnovers. Kyrie Irving scored 26 points with five rebounds and six assists. Timofey Mozgov had 16 points, eight of them in the first quarter, to go along with seven rebounds and a career postseason-high five blocks. Kevin Love put in 13 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. J.R. Smith couldn’t find the basket again, scoring just seven points on 3-12 shooting, but had four rebounds and a career postseason-high five steals. Off the bench, Iman Shumpert scored two points and Matthew Dellavedova scored five. Tristan Thompson didn’t score a single point, but that’s because he didn’t attempt any shots from the field or the free-throw line. He did finish with 11 rebounds, five on the offensive end, to go along with two assists and a steal.
Despite the win, Cleveland continues to struggle with turnovers, as they committed 18 giveaways tonight. However, Cleveland did outshoot (44.7% compared to 38.8%) and outrebounded (47-39) the Celtics.
Game 3 is on Thursday night in Boston. Cleveland will look to take a 3-0 lead in the series. No team in NBA history has ever come back to win a series after trailing 0-3.
Click “Next” below for all of today’s top plays and highlights!
Evan Turner drives baseline to the basket, but Timofey Mozgov meets up top and blocks his shot!
LeBron James dribbles into the front-court, waits, and finds the slashing Mozgov who throws it down with one hand!
Brandon Bass takes Tristan Thompson to the basket, but Timofey Mozgov comes from the strong side and blocks him from behind. LeBron James takes the rebound and hustles down-court, finding Kyrie Irving for the wide open three-pointer
LeBron James throws the half-court alley-oop and Kevin Love throws down it down reverse style!