Cavs' 4th quarter comeback falls short in 129-117 loss to Celtics

Jaylen Brown totals 34 points; Jayson Tatum, Kevin Love both score 30

Associated Press
December 27, 2019 - 6:36 pm
 Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket while Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) defends

© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

BOSTON (AP) — Jaylen Brown matched his career high with 34 points, Jayson Tatum had 24 of his 30 points in the opening half and the Boston Celtics cruised to their fifth straight victory, 129-117 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Enes Kanter added 14 points and Kemba Walker had 13 for Boston, which improved to 13-1 at home.

Brown posted the first consecutive 30-point games of his career. He had 30 in a Christmas Day win at Toronto.

Kevin Love equaled his season high with 30 points and had seven rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won their last three games and four of six. Collin Sexton added 21 points.

The Celtics only trailed in the opening minutes and led 62-47 at halftime.

Boston closed the first quarter by scoring the final seven points, taking a 33-22 lead into the break after Tatum’s 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left.

The Celtics then had a 10-0 spree midway through the second, turning a 12-point lead to 48-26 on Tatum’s step-back 3 from the right wing.

After intermission, Boston maintained a double-digit lead for the entire third quarter, building it to 84-62 on Kanter’s layup midway in before Love helped the Cavs slice it to 92-81 after three.

Cleveland finally got its deficit into single digits early in the fourth, but Boston put it away when Brown nailed consecutive 3s from the left wing 25 seconds apart that made it 108-90 with just over seven minutes to play.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Guard Dante Exum, acquired with two second round-picks from Utah for guard Jordan Clarkson, made his debut with Cleveland. He wore No. 1 and scored nine points in 15 minutes. … Sexton has scored at least 20 points in five of the last seven games. … Cleveland came in averaging 111.9 points per game in its last seven.

Celtics: Marcus Smart missed his eighth straight game with an eye infection. Boston coach Brad Stevens said before the game that Smart hasn’t been ruled out for Saturday yet. … Gordon Hayward tied his career high with 39 points in Cleveland on Nov. 5. On Friday, he had seven points and eight assists in his second game back after missing three with a sore left foot.

STRONG START

Tatum went 9 of 13 from the floor and connected on 4 of 6 from 3-point range in the opening half.

TRY AGAIN

The Celtics improved to 3-0 against the Cavaliers this season. The teams’ final regular-season meeting is March 4 in Cleveland.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night in their second of a three-game trip.

Celtics: Host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.