If there were ever a time the Celtics needed a bounceback win, it was on Wednesday night – and they got it.
On the second leg of a back-to-back and coming off an embarrassing collapse in a loss to the Nets, Boston got Jayson Tatum back and went right back into the win column with a 112-106 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tatum, as expected, led the way with 32 points.
In all, 11 players checked in to the game for the severely shorthanded Celtics. Missing Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Gordon Hayward, Tatum delivered the top-end offense they needed. The necessary secondary scoring came from unlikely sources.
Semi Ojeleye played a season-high 30 minutes on Wednesday and netted a career-best 22 points on 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) from the field. Ojeleye caught fire from downtown, going 5-for-8 on three-point attempts to complement his strong defensive play at the other end.
Point guard Collin Sexton, drafted with a pick acquired from the Celtics as part of the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade, went toe-to-toe with Tatum and then some. Sexton scored 41 points on 17-for-30 (56.7 percent) shooting and played a whopping 44 minutes.
It clearly wasn’t enough to beat the Celtics, even without three of their best players.
Up Next: The Celtics return to TD Garden on Friday for what will be their third game in four nights, a home tilt against the Utah Jazz.