Saturday night was a tough loss for the Celtics to take, but on Monday night they made sure they didn’t leave Cleveland without a win. It didn’t come easy, but the C’s picked up their seventh win of the year Monday night beating the Cavaliers 98-92.
It was a constant back and forth battle that saw Ime Udoka’s team trail for the entire first half, and rarely lead by more than five points in the second. Still, the Celtics managed to close out the game strong as Cleveland repeatedly kept the game within single digits.
An early 12-2 run put the Cavaliers up 11 in the first quarter. Yet the Celtics showed fight, closing the quarter with a 10-2 run of their own leaving it a 22-19 game after one.
The second quarter started much like the first, with another 12-2 run for Cleveland after the Celtics got back within a point. Things settled down both for the Celtics and the tempo of the game, and it ended up being a low-scoring quarter with both teams posting under 20 points. Heading into the half, Cleveland led 39-27.
It wasn’t long after halftime that the Celtics grabbed their first lead of the game, going up by a point about a minute into the third quarter. The teams spent most of the third quarter trading one-possession leads, with five lead changes in the quarter. Heading into the fourth, Boston led 65-64.
A 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter gave the Celtics some breathing room and forced a Cleveland timeout. The Cavs chipped away to get back within five leading to a timeout from the Celtics.
Out of that break, Ricky Rubio hit back-to-back threes to get the Cavs within one position, but an Al Horford three pointer immediately following Rubio’s second shot helped the C’s regain their balance. The remainder of the game was full of similar sequences, with Cleveland repeatedly getting within a point or two before the Celtics re-extended their lead.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points on 7-of-20 shooting. He also had eight rebounds and five assists. Al Horford followed that up with 17 points and nine boards. Marcus Smart and Dennis Schröder each contributed 14 points, and Grant Williams had 11 points off the bench.
For Cleveland, Ricky Rubio scored a game-high 28 points. Cedi Osman didn’t start but still put up 26.
With the win, the Celtics are now back at .500 at 7-7 on the season. It was their third win in their last four games.
This three-game road trip for the Celtics wraps up Wednesday night in Atlanta. Tip-off against the Hawks is set for 7:30 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 7 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.