CLEVELAND, Ohio – Look closely at the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was seen against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night, beating an aspiring playoff team with two All-Stars.
The Cavs defeated the Celtics (117-110) in their first game after a terrible, uncompetitive 0-3 Road trip.
Boston went into the night after winning five of seven games. The two all-stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown shone in the second half and scored 45 of their 57 points. But the Cavs withstood the onslaught and fought back without succumbing to adversity this time.
Collin Sexton. Darius Garland. Isaac Okoro. Larry Nance Jr. Jarrett Allen. This is the 20th grid this season and the core of the team that is evolving. The quintet scored 94 points for the team on Wednesday evening.
Sexton, the barometer of success, was 10-out-of-20 with 29 points, 2-out-of-5 out of 3-point range and 7-out of 7 Leading the foul line, his best performance since the All-Star break stopped his – and that of the team – momentum. Garland finished his career with 25 points and six assists and four rebounds. The often-criticized backcourt matched the overall performance of Tatum and Brown.
« They stood by, » said Cav’s head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Sexton and Garland. “They never got up to speed, they never got frustrated, they kept their composure, they thought tonight’s game. They read what the defense did and then they made the right games from there. “
Nance started again instead of the injured Kevin Love. Nance recorded a double-double and connected his season high with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rookie Isaac Okoro also hit double digits, posting 15 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. With that he set an exclamation point for his big night with a thundering runaway over Tatum. Allen threw in seven points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes.
About two minutes from time, as the Celtics were putting pressure on the Cavs, Garland picked up a defensive rebound and threw a pass at a grazing Okoro. The beginner climbed to the basket, threw it down, and leaned forward. It was one of the highlights of his vicious first season. That gave the Cavs the cushion they needed and pushed the lead back to nine points.
« That was the backbreaker right there, » said Garland. “Got the crowd on their feet. Got us on our feet. We knew it was a game after that. I just had to make a few more stops and it was over. “
This is the kind of game fans should get used to as Okoro continues to make positive progress on offense and Garland moved up in his second season.
» For us, it comes down to faith and confidence on, « said Bickerstaff. « When we talk about growth and all of those things, it’s all fine, but the results at the end of the day will give the boys confidence and faith. Giving the boys faith that they can is the most important thing we need to move forward. «
Dellavedova was back on the bench on Wednesday evening and supported his teammates. And after an appendix removal he moved better. Dellavedova, who has not played this season and first dealt with a severe concussion , cleared the league’s concussion protocol. He is making progress and Bickerstaff expects him back « sooner rather than later. » A source told cleveland.com that Dellavedova intends to practice on Saturday.
Tristan Thompson should make his first appearance in Cleveland since he signed with the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent that off-season, but he’s been out because of health and safety League security logs banned from Tuesday night’s showdown against Utah Jazz and inactive again on Wednesday. The Celtics will be making another visit to Cleveland on May 12th.
The Cavs will continue their homestand against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
New Cavs Face Masks For Sale: Here you can purchase Cleveland Cavaliers-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ( $ 24.99). All NBA proceeds are donated to charity.
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