Health and safety protocols have been the talk of the sports world right now, and it has impacted the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Wednesday against the Celtics, Cleveland had seven players out due to health and protocols, including three starters, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Isaac Okoro.
However, just like they always do, the Cavaliers fought, but they were outmanned and outgunned by the Celtics, and they fell 111-101 at TD Garden.
Boston led by five after one and took a 63-48 lead at halftime. The Celtics took their largest lead of 23 points in the third, but Cleveland went on a 14-1 run to cut the lead to 10 in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough.
With the loss, Cleveland’s(19-13) six-game winning streak is over, while Boston(16-16) moved to .500.
Here is the Great, the Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Boston.
The Great for the Cleveland Cavaliers:
-Darius Garland led the Cavaliers with 28 points and six assists. He also had three steals. Coming into this game, Garland led the league in plus/minus, and while this is not a great thing, he was a team-best -6 Wednesday night.
-Kevin Love had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Love has scored in double figures in eight straight games, and he has been in double figures 10 out of the last 11.
-Tacko Fall, yes, Tacko Fall. He got his first NBA start in the city where it all began for him. Fall was originally signed by the Celtics after going undrafted and spent two seasons in Boston. On Wednesday, Fall had four points, 10 rebounds, and blocked two shots in 19 minutes of action.
The Not so Great for the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Three-point shooting: Cleveland was 9/38 from downtown. Lauri Markkanen was 0/5, Love was 1/5, and Cedi Osman was 1/5 from deep.
Turnovers: Cleveland had 16 turnovers, which led to 19 Boston points. Turnovers are expected when you are trying to integrate new players. However, this has been an ongoing issue as they are 26th in turnovers per game(14.6).
-Lauri Markkanen struggled with his shot as he was 2/12 from the field, including 0/5 from deep. He finished with seven points and nine rebounds.
-Ricky Rubio, who got the start for Okoro, also was 2/12 from the field and 1/5 from downtown. He had a game-worst -20 rating. Rubio had eight points, six assists, and three steals.
Boston had their two best players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, so they had a clear advantage Wednesday night. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league has no plans to press the pause button on the season, but should they? Around the league, stars are missing games, and we are seeing a lot of G League talent on NBA basketball courts, and while it’s a great thing for those players, it’s probably not good for the product on the court.
“It’s next-man-up mentality,” Garland said postgame.
Cleveland will have a few days off as they return to the court Sunday at home against Toronto.
Best of the Rest:
Four out of Boston’s five starters scored in double figures, led by Jaylen Brown’s 34 points and six rebounds. Robert Williams III added 21 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, a game-high seven assists, and two blocks, and Jayson Tatum chipped in with 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
40-year-old Joe Johnson, who signed a 10-day contract with Boston, made his debut late in the fourth and scored two points.
-Osman added 13 points off the bench for Cleveland.
Watch below as Fall and Garland react to the loss to Boston: