NBA playoffs

‘Far from over’: Tatum, Celtics regain control over Cavs


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‘Far from over’: Tatum, Celtics regain control over Cavs

TAKEOVER. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum drives against Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (middle) and forward Isaac Okoro in Game 3.

David Richard/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

After a stunning Game 2 loss at home, the No. 1 Celtics bounce back to reclaim the series lead at 2-1 against the Cavs

Jayson Tatum recorded 33 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists and the Boston Celtics regained the lead in their Eastern Conference second-round playoff series with a 106-93 victory over the host Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night, May 11 (Sunday, May 12, Manila time).

Jaylen Brown scored 28 points on 13-of-17 shooting and collected 9 rebounds as top-seeded Boston took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. 

Jrue Holiday added 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, and Derrick White had 12 points for the Celtics.

Boston had coughed up home-court advantage with a 118-94 loss in Game 2 on Thursday before responding emphatically on Saturday.

“We just wanted to bounce back. Disappointing loss the other night and coming into a hostile environment on the road. Our backs were against the wall,” Tatum said. 

“This was a good test for us to see how we respond and we were up to the challenge.”

Donovan Mitchell made seven three-pointers and scored 33 points for the fourth-seeded Cavaliers. Evan Mobley had 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Caris LeVert and Darius Garland scored 15 points apiece for Cleveland.

Game 4 is Monday night, May 13, at Cleveland.

The Cavaliers were without big man Jarrett Allen (ribs) for the sixth straight game. Kristaps Porzingis (calf) missed his fourth straight game for the Celtics.

Boston shot 51.2% from the field, including 13-of-34 from three-point range. Cleveland connected on 42.9% of its shots and was 12-of-36 from behind the arc.

“We can do a better job defensively and that’s with holding them to 106 (points),” Mitchell said. “But at the end of the day, we didn’t score. We didn’t score when we needed to or respond back. We’ll be better. It’s not going to be easy.”

The Cavaliers trailed by 15 points before scoring the first 6 points of the final quarter. Mobley capped the run with back-to-back buckets down low to bring Cleveland within 84-75 with 10:29 remaining.

Payton Pritchard and White nailed three-pointers over the next few minutes as Boston pushed its lead to 94-81 with 6:58 remaining.

After a three-point play by Mitchell, Brown, and White scored to give the Celtics a 98-84 advantage with 5:42 left.

Tatum’s fallaway baseline jumper over Max Strus made it 104-89 with 2:14 left, and Boston closed it out.

“There were a couple (shots) that I think we would all like to have back, where we rushed them,” Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff said. “When you get down to this team, it feels real heavy.”

Boston led by 9 at the break before opening the third quarter with 14 consecutive points.

Tatum opened the quarter with a three-point play, White added a triple, and Brown followed with a layup to increase the margin to 17. White and Holiday knocked down treys to end the surge and give the Celtics a 71-48 lead with 9:06 left in the third.

Mitchell hit a short jumper with 8:39 left in the third to start a 9-0 run as the Cavaliers pulled within 14 with 5:25 to go. Boston thwarted the charge, and Brown drained a long 3-pointer with 20.3 seconds left to give his team an 84-69 advantage entering the final stanza.

Tatum scored 18 points in the first half as the Celtics took a 57-48 lead into the break. Mitchell had 23 points in the half for Cleveland.

“Not to be satisfied, the season is far from over,” Tatum said of his expectations for Game 4. “We responded after our loss and they’re going to feel like they can play better.” –

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