The point of attack defense needs to improve.
The Cleveland Cavaliers waltzed into the TD Garden Friday night and edged the Celtics 132-123 in the first overtime game of the year.
The Cavaliers received huge efforts from Donovan Mitchell and Caris Levert, who each scored 41. The Cavaliers controlled much of this game by denying shots in the paint and forcing the Celtics to shoot to many jump shots.
The Celtics came out tonight and imposed their will in the first half by moving the basketball and creating quality looks in transition. Jayson Tatum lead all scorers with 24 at the break and Jaylen Brown pitched in with 14 of his own. Then, everything turned on the Celtics.
The Cavaliers presented problems for the injury-riddled Celtics in the paint as the team shot above 70% within 15 feet and out-rebounded the Celtics for the 3rd time in 5 games. The Cavaliers came out firing in the second half, as they flipped the script and put their defensive prowess on full display.
The Celtics took a brief lead with 3 minutes to play in regulation as Jaylen Brown drove to the hoop and made a layup through contact from Jarrett Allen. From that point forward, however, the Cavaliers dominated the pace and out-muscled the undersized Celtics.
The Celtics will look to put this loss in the rear-view mirror and adjust before they host the Wizards Sunday afternoon.