May 21st, 2024

Brown, White lead Celtics’ 3-point onslaught, powering Boston to 120-95 Game 1 win over Cavaliers


By Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press on May 7, 2024.

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots as Cleveland Cavaliers' Donovan Mitchell defends during the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) – When Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum have it going, it usually means good things for the Boston Celtics.

This postseason, it’s also been opening up the floor – – and the 3-point line – – for Derrick White. That’s added a new layer to a team that was already the one to beat in the East.

Brown scored 32 points, White made seven 3-pointers and added 25, and the Celtics powered past the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-95 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

Tatum finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds to help the Celtics pull away in the second half.

“It feels good. I think the most important thing is to win,” White said. “I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter if I score zero or score however many I scored today. When we win, I’m doing enough.”

The Cavaliers went 11 of 42 from 3-point range and kept pace early. But the Celtics were even more efficient from the outside, connecting on 18 of 46 from beyond the arc for the game.

It helped Boston carry a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Celtics then started the final period on a 10-2 run to increase their lead to 102-79.

At one point early in the fourth, Brown shot 3 from the top of the key and turned his head before it fell through the hoop, reminiscent of Golden State sharpshooter Stephen Curry.

“I had it rolling tonight,” Brown said. “You just want to come out and make the right plays, make the right reads. That’s all it is. Playing through your teammates and playing with confidence.”

Game 2 is Thursday night in Boston.

The attention on Brown and Tatum has created a myriad of open looks for White throughout the season. White’s 28 3-pointers over a six-game span are the most in Celtics playoff history. Boston has also won its past 21 games when he’s attempted at least 12 3-pointers.

Donovan Mitchell had 33 points and six assists for the Cavaliers. He is the fourth player in league history to score 30 or more points in six straight playoff series openers, joining Michael Jordan (three times), Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain.

Darius Garland added 14 points.

Mitchell logged 37 minutes after playing 45 in Cleveland’s Game 7 win in the first round over Orlando. It’s a lot, but coach J.B. Bickerstaff acknowledged they have to watch the load the put on him.

“We try to put him out there as long as we can. He’s playing over 40 minutes a game. So we’re doing our best to keep him out there because we know how impactful he is,” Bickerstaff said. “But we’re not going to run him into the ground, so he’s got nothing left in the fourth quarter.”

Mitchell said it’s a load he’s ready for.

“I understand I need to score the ball,” he said.

White picked up where he left off after scoring 38 and 25 points in the final two games against the Miami Heat in the first round.

With the Cavaliers hot from the 3-point line early, White led the Celtics attack. It was his third time this postseason with at least six 3s.

Both teams played without their starting centers. Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game with a bruised rib injury he sustained in the first round against Orlando. Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis was sidelined for the second consecutive game with a strained right calf.

The top-seeded Celtics got an extended break after making quick work of the Heat in the first round. They looked like a rested team, jumping out to a 12-2 lead, with nine of those points coming from Brown.

Mitchell was just as aggressive for Cleveland, scoring eight points during a 21-9 spurt by the Cavaliers to nudge back in front.

But Boston settled down, closing the opening period on a 19-11 run to take a 40-34 edge into the second.

The 74 combined points in the opening period were the most in a Celtics’ playoff game since 1990 and third-most in franchise history.

The Celtics took a 59-49 lead into halftime.

Mitchell, who played on the United States’ 2019 World Cup team with White, said he’s not surprised by his former teammate’s effort.

“I feel like he’s he’s had some things that he’s definitely added to his game. He’s the guy that’s always – whatever you need from him,” Mitchell said. “That’s that’s a big, selfless guy that comes in…tonight it’s 25, he might go 0-for but he’s doing other things defensively, and different things.”

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Share this story:

30
-29
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x