CLEVELAND: The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Boston Celtics for the teams’ second matchup this season. Coming into the game, the Cavs held the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference with Boston right behind them at #3. NBA fans got a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview in a wild overtime thriller where the Cavs came out on top, 114-113.
Cleveland fans eagerly awaited the return of All-Star point guard Darius Garland, who has been sidelined since October 19th with an eye laceration. While his status was updated to Questionable earlier in the day, fans were speculating whether he could suit up tonight with backup point guard Raul Neto out with a right ankle sprain. It was then officially announced that Garland would make his return to the lineup tonight.
Cavaliers All-Star point guard Darius Garland will make his return to the lineup tonight vs. Boston, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Garland has been sidelined since Oct. 19 due to an an eye injury suffered while playing 13 minutes in Cleveland’s season opener in Toronto.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 2, 2022
The Cavs’ starting five included Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. Garland wasted no time on offense as he sank his first triple off a dish from LeVert, and followed with two more for a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc. Garland amassed 14 points, three assists and two steals in the first quarter alone, his highest-scoring opening quarter in his career.
Three consecutive 3-pointers from DG, welcome back pic.twitter.com/HawMWsOX4a
— Tony Pesta (@Tony_Pesta) November 2, 2022
The Cavs’ first quarter defense was significantly better than their last meeting with Boston, which was a main focus of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff. They limited Celtics’ Jayson Tatum to only two points (0-3 FG) in the first, and capitalized on Boston’s missed shots.
Despite the Cavs’ quick start they quickly cooled off in the second quarter, shooting a lowly 6-of-24 from the field. While they were able to get plenty of open looks, the shots just weren’t falling which caused the Celtics to get right back in the game. Boston pieced together a 15-4 run which gave them the lead heading into the half, 56-50.
The Cavs immediately attacked the paint to open the third quarter. They mustered a quick 10-0 run with the help of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Donovan Mitchell getting aggressive and attacking the Boston defense. They quickly erased Boston’s lead and found themselves right back in the game.
Sure looks like #Cavs made a point of emphasis at halftime to get the ball inside against the switchy Celtics. Now 10 of their 14 second-half points have come in the paint.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) November 3, 2022
While the Cavs were driving to the basket, drawing fouls and hitting their free throws, the tide quickly turned as it was Boston who couldn’t find their shot. They outscored the Celtics 33-20, heading into the fourth quarter leading 83-76.
Boston came out firing as they scored the first 14 points of the fourth quarter. The Cavs started off sloppy with the ball, committing costly turnovers. However, if the Cavs have proven anything this early into the season, it’s their ability to keep the score close and fight to the finish. Caris LeVert stepped up to the plate with some clutch buckets, including a triple off a dish from Garland.
Donovan Mitchell soon kicked it into overdrive, scoring 10 straight points for the Cavs. A critical offensive rebound by LeVert with 24 seconds left sent the Cavs to the free throw line, where Garland split the pair putting the Cavs up by two. Tatum then tied the game at 107, and tipped Mitchell’s would-be game-winning shot which sent the game into overtime.
Donovan Mitchell is in TAKEOVER mode for the @cavs on ESPN 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Iwn4ydB0jl
— NBA (@NBA) November 3, 2022
Garland opened OT with a 25-foot triple, followed by a huge slam from Mitchell off a lob from Garland. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley came up huge with a couple monster blocks, and the Celtics had no answer for the Cavs in overtime. After a nail-biting finish to a fiercely competitive game, the Cavs emerged victorious 114-113 and improve to 6-1.
CAVS WIN #LetEmKnow pic.twitter.com/41kVUwNoHA
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) November 3, 2022
Garland: 29 points, 5 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals
Mitchell: 25 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks
LeVert: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
Mobley: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
Allen: 14 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks
The Cavs and Celtics will not meet again until March, when both teams will surely be making a competitive playoff push. The Cavs will begin a 5-game road trip as they take on the Detroit Pistons on Friday, November 4th. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM, and tickets can be purchased through SeatGeek.
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.