The Boston Revenge: 3 Reasons Behind Cavs Defeat Against Celtics

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving Shaking Hands before the Game
After the Boston Celtics’ season opener defeat against the Cleveland Cavaliers, they finally got the chance to strike them back. Celtics redemption thwarted the Cavs 102 – 88.
Kyrie only scored 11 points but still, Celtics destroyed the Cavs completely.

What could be the reasons behind this overwhelming Celtics win over Cavs?

1. A not so dominant LeBron

Surprisingly, in games wherein most expected that he’ll go all out, LeBron scored only 19 points. Though he was the top scorer for the Cavs, still it is unusual for him to play so small. He even missed all his attempts from beyond the arc.

2. Rozier’s big play off the bench

While everyone was expecting and focused on two guys — Irving and James, Terry Rozier came off the bench very efficiently. Rozier rocked the arena with 20 points off the bench within 20 minutes of playing time. While Kyrie Irving struggled from the rainbow country, delivering nothing out of his 5 attempts, Rozier’s just at ease to hit 4 out of 6 long balls.
It was a great trump card that a player off the bench played bigger than the superstars on the floor. Nobody or at least a few anticipated that the biggest point contribution would come from a man who hasn’t played even half of the whole 48 minutes.

3. Disabled I.T.

Isaiah Thomas could’ve been Cavs best card to play against Boston but unfortunately, he is at rest and has just recovered from injury. I.T knows even the bench players of Boston. He could’ve been the key to cease Rozier’s explosion earlier. He could’ve forced to sit out Terry and let the worst shooting Kyrie longer.

Overall, Boston played a not so big game but unfortunately, the Cavs were at their worst form in any aspect.

Kyle Korver delivered well on his task — shooting threes yet he’s alone. As mentioned above, LeBron hit nothing but the steel rim. Same as Kevin Love, a dangerous towering outside shooter was a dormant at the game both inside, perimeter and beyond the arc. Love hit 1 out of his 11 attempts on the field and nothing of 4 outside attempts.
Celtics win over Cavs can be considered as a lucky victory. Nothing turned out to be huge and explosive. It is the other way around instead. Most of their key players were missing in action. It was great for Boston facing the worst Cavs and having a Rozier ready to go to aid the empty-handed Kyrie.

By the Numbers: Undermanned Celtics Beat Hornets

Bench players to help erase a 12-point deficit in the 4th quarter

Kyrie Irving got hurt early in the game and never returned. 

First, Gordon Hayward is long out after twisting his foot 6 minutes into the Celtics’ opening night game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, Al Horford got hurt and missed the last few games which the Celtics fortunately won. Jayson Tatum also got hurt but was able to play.
Then, this.
Just when everyone thought that from the very moment Kyrie Irving got elbowed in the face during the first quarter, Boston’s winning streak may be over as they fell behind, 26-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Nope!
The Boston Celtics fought their way back into the game and outscored the Charlotte Hornets in the 4th quarter, 26-11, en route to a 90-87 victory over Kemba Walker and the rest of the Hornets. That, folks, is Boston’s 11th STRAIGHT VICTORY. This pundit on wheels emphasized that because the Celtics did it without one of the prized acquisitions during the off-season. 
Just how good the Cs against the Hornets last night? Check out the numbers below:

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Balanced Scoring

Unlike the Hornets who had Kemba Walker leading the way with 20 points but no other starters scored in double figures, one of the many things that enabled the Celtics to keep their winning streak going was their balanced scoring:
  • Jayson Tatum: 16 points 
  • Shane Larkin: 16 points
  • Terry Rozier: 15 points
  • Marcus Morris: 14 points
  • Jaylen Brown: 10 points and 13 rebounds
The best thing about this win for the Celtics: they can win even without anyone scoring above 20 points. Now that’s efficiency at its finest, folks. 

Celtics Took Advantage of their Free Throws

In a game where both teams were having a bad shooting night (Celtics at 35% while Hornets at 38%), another thing that won the game for the Celtics was their free throw shooting. Compared to Charlotte who only made 19 of their 33 attempts from the line, the Celtics hit 21 of their 25 free throw attempts. Given how close the final score was, one could only think: if Dwight Howard could only hit more than just 2 of 9 attempts, the outcome would have been different, right?

Conclusion

If the Boston Celtics can keep up the consistency and the determination that they showed against the Hornets, they can definitely round up more wins especially with the possibility of Kyrie Irving missing the Celtics’ upcoming game against the Toronto Raptors.
And if you were the Raptors,  you wouldn’t want to underestimate a Celtics team that is already without Hayward and Horford to begin with. You have seen what they could do with Irving on board. You have seen what they could do without #11. 
Either way, the Boston Celtics are still the hottest team in the league right now. 

By the Numbers: Boston Extends Streak to 10, Beats Struggling Lakers

The Lakers falter after roaring back in the 3rd quarter

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with another all-around performance.

The Boston Celtics got Kyrie Irving in a trade that had them send Isaiah Thomas plus some other players to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a deal that unquestionably shook the balance in the Eastern Conference- if we are to look at the current positions of both squads. Even before that, the Celtics already had Gordon Hayward on board after  Hayward decided to sign with Boston. So on paper, the Cs have two new players who can hopefully help them beat the Cavs come playoff time.
However, things didn’t start well for Boston as they lost to the Cavs to open the season in a game which saw them lose Gordon Hayward who twisted his foot, 6 minutes into the game. After that, the Celtics next lost to the Milwaukee Bucks. Since then, Kyrie Irving and company haven’t dropped a game coming into their game against their all-time rival, Los Angeles Lakers.
After watching the young Lakers trim down the lead to just 3 points late in the 3rd quarter,  the Celtics outscored Los Angeles, 20-15 in the final quarter en route to a 107-96 victory over the Lakers in a game which Boston didn’t have Al Horford due to injury and Jayson Tatum who was hurt during the game. Fortunately, the rest of the Celtics did more than enough to keep their winning streak going and below are the numbers that will explain how good were the Boston against the Lakers:

Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes: Because Kyrie Irving Cannot do it Alone

In a game where the Celtics were already without Hayward, Horford and now, Tatum, the Boston Celtics were clearly outmanned this time around against their archrivals. 
Don’t forget, folks, Kyrie Irving had a miserable shooting night, going 7 for 21 in the field while missing all 7 of his attempts from the three-point line. Fortunately, Aron Baynes scored 21 points in in just 23 minutes of play. Terry Rozier complimented Baynes and Marcus Morris’ (18 points) outputs with 14 points on his own while coming off the bench. With Hayward missing out the entire season, Kyrie Irving cannot do it all alone and save the Celtics every now and then. Fortunately, he didn’t have to do everything alone. He had help. Lots of it.

The Team that Makes more Shots, Wins

In a game where both teams were shooting under 50% (Lakers at 43% while Celtics at 38%), Boston won because they were able to make more shots than the Lakers, especially from the free throw line. In fact, it was the number of free throws which won the game for Boston as the Celtics made 24 of 31 31 charities which is a far cry to Los Angeles’ 17 of 23 performance from the line. 

Conclusion

If anything, the Celtics have already proven that yes, they can win even when Kyrie Irving was missing 14 shots. Their unimpressive victory against the struggling Lakers proved that yes, they are still a complete team even without Gordon Hayward. Imagine if Gordon Hayward was around. But then, the Celtics won’t be needing Hayward around for now, especially if they are winning without him.