Cavaliers Lose to Celtics 109-102: Playoff Game Recap Game 4 / Round 2

May 14, 2024

Andy Billman

Post-Game Recap

3 Notes Around the Loss

1 – No Mitchell

The Cavs did not have their leader Donovan Mitchell on Monday night as he was out with a calf injury.  Darius Garland did have 30 points in a loss. 

2 – Rebounds

The battle of the boards is a critical stat in the series, and the Celtics outrebounded the Cavs by 16 on Monday.  Especially in the fourth quarter, Boston could get second or even third opportunities at the rim.

3 – Free Throws

The battle of free throws went in the direction of Boston in a big way.  The Celtics shot 21 for 24, compared to only five for seven for Cleveland. 

Game Recap

Even when the task seems straightforward, the Boston Celtics seem to have a knack for turning it into a challenge. On Monday night, they narrowly avoided a stumble against a Cleveland team that was outmatched.

With LeBron James watching courtside, Jayson Tatum poured in 33 points to lead the Celtics to a hard-fought 109-102 victory over the severely short-handed Cavaliers in Game 4, putting Boston up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Jaylen Brown contributed 27 points to the win, setting the stage for a potential series closeout in Game 5 on Wednesday night on their home court.

“It took us a bit to find our rhythm and shift our focus to playing basketball,” remarked Brown.

If the series requires it, Game 6 will be held at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday.

The Cavaliers faced the daunting task of playing without two key players, Donovan Mitchell (calf) and Jarrett Allen (ribs), both sidelined with injuries. Their availability for future games remains uncertain.

While injuries have plagued Cleveland throughout the season, the absence of Mitchell, their star guard, and Allen, their top rebounder, presented a significant challenge. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers, known for their resilience, gave the top-seeded Celtics all they could handle.

“They left everything on the court,” praised Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “They competed relentlessly and gave themselves a fighting chance.”

Tatum delivered another stellar performance, tallying 11 rebounds and five assists alongside his 33 points. Jrue Holiday chipped in with 16 points for Boston, maintaining their perfect away record in the postseason at 4-0.

“There’s no greater feeling than securing a playoff victory on the road,” Tatum expressed. “It’s a tough environment, and the crowd was electric. Now, we need to return to Boston, perform in front of our fans, and give them something to cheer about.”

Darius Garland led the charge for the Cavaliers with 30 points, while Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert each contributed 19 points. Despite trailing by 10 going into the fourth quarter, Cleveland remained within striking distance.

Although the Cavaliers mounted a late comeback attempt, Boston managed to secure the win. A pivotal 3-pointer from Brown, albeit amid a collision with official Tyler Ford, provided the Celtics with crucial breathing room in the final minutes.

The free-throw line proved to be a contentious issue for Cleveland, with Boston attempting 24 free throws compared to Cleveland’s seven.

“That’s unacceptable,” expressed Garland. “It’s difficult to only get seven free throws. I know how many times I’ve been fouled, as well as my teammates. It’s frustrating.”

LeBron James, who spent 11 seasons with Cleveland in two separate stints, made a notable appearance at his former home arena, sparking speculation about his future in the NBA.

Despite battling a left knee injury for months, Mitchell had been a standout performer for the Cavaliers in the playoffs, averaging 29.6 points in the first 10 games. However, a calf injury sidelined him for Game 4, leaving his availability uncertain for future games.

As for Allen, he missed his seventh consecutive game due to a lingering injury sustained in the opening round. While Kristaps Porzingis sat out his fifth straight game for Boston, there were positive signs as he engaged in on-court activities, indicating progress in his recovery.

Up Next

At Boston Wednesday

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