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Celtics-Cavaliers: 5 takeaways as Donovan Mitchell shines in 2nd half of Game 2 win



Celtics-Cavaliers: 5 takeaways as Donovan Mitchell shines in 2nd half of Game 2 win

Evan Mobley and Donovan Mitchell did a little bit of all the pieces in Sport 2, combining for 50 factors, 17 rebounds and 13 assists.

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BOSTON – They couldn’t win a playoff sport on the street – till they did. They couldn’t crack 100 factors – till they did that, too. The Cleveland Cavaliers had seemed ripe for some pretty parting presents earlier than their Japanese Convention semifinals sequence in opposition to the Celtics even had begun, and their loss by 25 factors in Sport 1 had loads of people steering them towards the door. Right here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?

The Cavs had the temerity, although, to stay round for Sport 2 on Thursday night time at TD Backyard (the NBA makes that form of obligatory, by the best way). And wouldn’t you realize it, they flipped the script completely with their 118-94 victory to even the sequence at 1-1.

Listed here are 5 takeaways because the sequence shifts to Cleveland for Sport 3 on Saturday and Sport 4 on Monday:

1. Selecting his spots, choosing his halves

Midway by Sport 2, Cleveland may need thought-about itself fortunate to be tied at 54-54. Its one dependable, dynamic scorer, Donovan Mitchell, had taken solely six pictures and contributed solely six factors.

Two issues had been at work. The Celtics had been throwing totally different defensive seems at him, affordable given the 33 factors he scored in opposition to them in Sport 1. And Mitchell took that studying alternative to verify some teammates bought concerned at a deeper stage.

Midway by, Evan Mobley, Isaac Okoro and sixth man Caris LeVert had mixed for 35 factors – they’d averaged 25.4 by Cleveland’s first eight playoff video games. And Mitchell had 5 assists and was a plus-11 anyway.

Nonetheless, responsibility known as. “When it was time to go, it was time to go,” Mitchell stated later. “I knew sooner or later I used to be going to have to start out capturing.”

That got here within the third quarter. He began and ended that 36-point interval for the Cavs with 3-pointers and had 10 factors in between. He added seven extra within the fourth earlier than he took his first breather after halftime.

With 29 factors, he joined LeBron James as the one Cavaliers to string collectively not less than 5 video games of 25+ factors. To date within the sequence, his group is 27 factors higher when Mitchell is on the ground, 28 factors worse when he sits.

2. Mobley stayed heat for 48 hours

Cleveland’s third-year energy ahead, admired for his protection and touted for his potential, had been listening to criticism these days for what by all appearances has been a plateaued offensive sport. By his first 13 postseason performances the previous two seasons, Mobley had extra video games scoring in single digits (three) than he did with 17 factors or extra (two).

Greater than three quarters into this sequence, Mobley had solely seven factors with the Cavs headed towards their double-digit defeat. Then one thing occurred halfway by the fourth Tuesday: Mobley scored off a bounce cease. Then he flipped in a bucket. He scooted previous Luke Kornet for a layup. And stored going.

By the point he was performed, Mobley had strung collectively 5 consecutive baskets in a 10-0 Cavs run. It gave him some rhythm and a few confidence, and it carried over Thursday. He scored eight factors in an early run that tied it 19-19 and even hit the fourth 3-pointer of his playoff life earlier than the primary quarter ended.

Mobley was important in Cleveland’s 22 factors within the paint within the opening 12 minutes and 60-44 dominance general in Sport 2. Credit score goes to the movie work Mobley did, constructing from his Sport 1 spurt, and to Cavs teammates recognizing the mismatches and spots to get him the ball.

3. Celtics not prepared for ring becoming

It’s a Michael Corleone factor in reverse. Each time Boston and the remainder of the league are prepared to purchase in, the Celtics push them away once more. They stumbled in Sport 2 of the primary spherical in opposition to a hobbled Miami group. Now they’ve performed it once more in opposition to a Cavs squad regarded till Thursday as little greater than a pace bump.

They bought outrebounded. They bought outshot, each from distance and on the rim. Not one of the starters made even half his pictures, and the Celtics’ complete efficiency lacked urgency.

The group was clever to the dreary work. They began streaming up the steps into the night time with 4:58 left and Boston down 111-87. One boisterous critic boomed, “Hey Tatum, we’ll be right here while you’re prepared! Get up!”

“Once you lose a sport like that,” coach Joe Mazzulla stated, “it may very well be a mix of ways, a mix of effort, a mix of a bit of all these issues at occasions.”

“Unacceptable efficiency,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown known as it.

4. LeVert will get comfortable once more at Backyard

Two of Caris LeVert’s most explosive video games ever have come on Boston’s parquet flooring. He scored a profession excessive of 51 factors in opposition to the Celtics whereas with Brooklyn in March 2020. Then in October 2022, by then with Cleveland, he went for 41. He has solely two different 40-point performances in opposition to everyone else, in all different buildings.

LeVert, wrapping his eighth NBA season, has began 229 video games in his profession throughout the common season and playoffs. However solely 53 have include the Cavs since he arrived in a February 2022 commerce from Indiana.

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff has praised LeVert’s willingness to sacrifice for the group. He had a forgettable 4 factors in Sport 1 however was important to the Sport 2 victory. His 21 factors in 27 minutes was one of the best bench output so removed from both group, and LeVert did it with none threes, largely chopping and creating.

“He’s simply bought that off-beat wiggle that’s tough to remain in entrance of,” Bickerstaff stated. “He’s additionally harmful as a result of he could make late passes that a whole lot of occasions defenses aren’t prepared for.”

Stated LeVert: “We heard all of the final couple of days that Donovan didn’t don’t have any assist. So we wished to indicate up for him and for our group, and we’ll maintain doing that.”

5. ‘Successful is the precedence’

Previous to tipoff, Bickerstaff paid the Celtics a big-time praise, so glowing that it appeared match for a concession speech reasonably than a one-game sequence evaluation.

“Simply watching this group as a complete, successful is such a precedence,” he stated. “You watch the best way they play the sport, and the way unselfish. They’ve actually proficient gamers all through their lineup, however all of them perceive their roles. As you sit again and watch the movie and research them, you don’t see guys stepping exterior of who they’re in a method that’s going to impression different folks. … It doesn’t seem from the skin it’s about ‘me’ in any respect.

By the tip of the night, the coach directed nearly an identical kudos on the Cavs themselves.

“I believed our guys executed the sport plan to a tee,” Bickerstaff stated. “Once we defend the best way we defended and the pictures begin to fall, what we do travels and we will win anyplace.”

Subsequent venue: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the place Cavs followers are getting a sequence reasonably than a mismatch. Sport 3 is ready for Saturday (8:30 ET, ABC).

“There’s nothing else that issues,” Bickerstaff stated. “There isn’t any different agenda. We’ve bought playoff video games in entrance of us that we have to win, and the fellows sacrifice and are prepared to do no matter it takes to win, as a result of they don’t wish to disappoint each other.”

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Steve Aschburner has written concerning the NBA since 1980. You possibly can e-mail him right here, discover his archive right here and follow him on X.

The views on this web page don’t essentially mirror the views of the NBA, its golf equipment or Warner Bros. Discovery.

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