By Patrick Whalen
Remember when the Cavs were good, yeah me neither. Kyrie and the Celtics remind Tristian Thompson that Lebron left and the Cavs don’t run the east anymore. In fact, the Cavs are more in charge of the tank for Zion than the east crown. The Celtics finally built on a win as they now have won their second in a row and they did it in dominating fashion with a 128-95 win over the Cavs. The performance the Celtics had last night was the kind of performance that Celtics fans have been waiting for since their opening night performance against the 76ers. The 33 point win margin and 128 points scored were both season highs for the Celtics. This despite not having Al Horford or Jaylen Brown.
The Celtics offense was led by none other than Kyrie Irving as he went for 29 points on 11-15 shooting and 5-7 from downtown. Everyone pretty much knows when Cleveland comes to town Kyrie is gonna remind them of how they made the biggest mistake in franchise history trading him away which is great cause we get to see highlights like these all night.
Besides Kyrie, the Celtics had another 6 players in double figures led by Marcus Morris with 15 and Gordon Hayward with 14 off the bench. The team overall was unstoppable shooting 53% from the floor and 55% from 3. The Celts only led by 10 at the half but thanks to a third quarter where the Celtics outscored the Cavs by 19 the reserves got some extended playing time, mostly Semi Ojeleye and Guerschon Yabusele. With 15 minutes each Yabu had 5 points and 4 rebounds and Semi had 5 points and 2 rebounds including this bug dunk.
Another pleasant surprise from the reserves was for South Carolina Gamecock P.J. Dozier who scored 7 points and 4 rebounds in just 6 minutes of action (Basketball-Reference.com). This offensive performance was great to see especially with having two starters missing from the lineup.
But it also helps that they were playing the Cavs who are returning to their rightful place as the laughing stock of the eastern conference. With the loss, the Cavs now fall to a pitiful 4-17 on the season placing them with the Suns as the two worst teams in the league. The young Cavs shot just 39% from the field and 32% from 3. Their leading scorer was Jordan Clarkson off the bench with 16 points on just 5-14 shooting. Their young rookie Collin Sexton also struggled shooting with just 15 points on 6-18 from the field (Basketball-Reference.com). Another good sign for the Celtics was the defense holding the Cavs under 100 points. Now of course we would prefer not to give up 95 points to this team but you must account for the reserves playing most of the fourth quarter. With George Hill and Kevin Love out, Kyle Korver being dealt to the Jazz just days before this game, and Channing Frye being almost a reserve player it leaves the 27-year-old Thompson to be the veteran leader of the team. Throw on the early season firing of coach Ty Lue and this team is just in utter disarray which is just what the Celtics needed to help boost their confidence.
The Celtics will look to extend their streak against the Timberwolves who are another underperforming team this season with many inconsistencies like the Celtics have had. The Celtics seem to be starting to put together complete games now and they’ll get another boost against the Wolves as Al Horford, who had last nights game off for rest, will be back in the lineup against the Wolves and we may potentially see the return of Jaylen Brown to the lineup after missing the last 2 games with a tailbone injury he suffered in Dallas. After going to Minnesota the Celtics have the Knicks at home, then the Bulls in Chicago, the Pelicans at home and the Wizards in Washinton. This strech the Celtics have over the next 2 weeks could be the streak we’ve been waiting for.