Boston, Thursday @peoplesport11
Terry Rozier scored 20 points off the Boston bench to lead six double-figure scorers on Wednesday and the Celtics routed visiting Cleveland 102-88 in an NBA Eastern Conference showdown.
Jayson Tatum and reserve Marcus Smart each scored 15 points, Jaylen Brown added 14 points and Kyrie Irving and Al Horford each contributed 11 and nine rebounds as the East-leading Celtics improved to 31-10.
“That shows what type of team we are,” Rozier said of the Celtics’ scoring depth. “From day one we’ve always had that next man up mentality and we’ve kept it going.” LeBron James led Cleveland with 19 points and added seven rebounds and six assists but the Cavaliers (25-13) had a season-low point total. “Their defence was very good.
They were very in tune to what we wanted to do execution-wise offensively,” James said. “They had a good defensive plan and they executed very well.” Cavaliers big man Kevin Love injured his right ankle.
He had only two points on 1-of-11 shooting. Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas sat out a night after making his season debut, missing more than two months with a hip injury after being traded from the Celtics in the deal that sent Irving to Boston. “I don’t know who we are and who we can be until we get it back consistently,” James said.
“We haven’t played well as of late so we are trying to figure that out as well. We will be fine, though.” Thomas exchanged hugs and smiles with his former teammates and when he was shown on the scoreboard videoscreen, Boston fans responded with a standing ovation. “This is genuine love from both sides,” Thomas said.
“The fans are everything here. Boston is definitely in my heart and will always be some type of home for me.” The Celtics avenged a 102-99 opening-night loss at Cleveland in which Gordon Hayward suffered a broken left ankle in his Boston debut.
DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points to power the Toronto Raptors (26-10) to a 124-115 victory at Chicago while Greek standout Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 10 rebounds in Milwaukee’s 122-101 home romp over Indiana. – AFP