Rapid Recap is designed for the busiest of Celtics fans. Whether you can’t stay awake to read 10 paragraphs or your hangover is just too much, Rapid Recap tells the timeline of the game in only a minute or two.
Two days after a dominant win over the Raptors in which he played arguably the biggest role, Jaylen Brown decided to encore, albeit against far weaker competition. He dropped 34-9-2 on 65% shooting for his first set of consecutive 30-point games. Jayson Tatum wasn’t far behind with 30 of his own, plus 5 boards, 2 dimes and 2 blocks. That’s 64 of the Celtics’ points in a 129-117 win that wasn’t as close as that appears.
The Celtics on the whole played fairly well and never allowed this contest to morph into a trap game. Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter were the only other players to reach double figures (13 and 14, respectively), but lower scorers like Daniel Theis, Gordon Hayward, Brad Wanamaker and Grant Williams contributed through playmaking and defense.
Below clip serves as a reasonable microcosm of Q1. Watch how simple it is for the most basic screen and roll from Enes Kanter to Gordon Hayward to confound Cleveland:
The Cs weren’t always defending crisply themselves in that quarter, but it didn’t hurt much.
(Still potentially worrisome given that previous Boston games vs. Cleveland have been closer than they needed to be…but Lord almighty is this Cavs team disorganized. Darius Garland and Collin Sexton may be the league’s worst backcourt.)
Ergo, 33-22 Celtics after one. Furthermore:
Boston broadened the gap between themselves and Cleveland further in Q2, and as the latter went for four-minute stretches without field goals and Tatum went on a tear of threes and layups, it pretty much was, to quote play-by-play legend Mike Gorman, “like the varsity squad playing against the JV.”
It would be safe to say the Celtics’ vibe in this game was…relaxed:
Which was also the approximate size of the lead the Celtics had over the Cavaliers at the quarter’s three-minute mark (20). Kevin Love did the best he could for the team he’s actively trying to leave with a little solo run…
But it made little difference. The Cs led 62-47 at the half.
Jaylen picked up where Jayson’s run left off…
The Celtics could probably afford to sleepwalk, but didn’t risk it (always the wiser decision, IMO) and kept their effort up:
Good thing they did, because Love went on another mini-run that could’ve been far more devastating than it was. As it happened, it only brought the Cavs “almost within single digits”—92-81 at the end of three frames.
Then the fourth quarter came, and the Celtics pulled to another almost-20-point lead. What a surprise. The gap also led to fun experiments, like Theis taking/making triples and making sure GRANT got reps:
(He roasted Garland, in case you were wondering.)
And that just about wrapped it up, except for Kevin Porter Jr.’s meaningless garbage points.