Celtics lose to Cavs 102-95, fall to 1-2 in preseason play
In their worst showing of the short preseason, the Boston Celtics fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-95. With Kyrie Irving (rest) sitting out, the C's couldn't get any rhythm on the offensive end, and lacked an intensity on the defensive end. It's only preseason, but honestly, this game was gross.
Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 15 points off the bench in a team-leading 26 minutes, Marcus Morris added 14 points, and Jaylen Brown, the only starter in double figures, had 10 points. Kevin Love had 17 points in the first half, rookie Colin Sexton had 15 points, and Jordan Clarkson and David Nwaba chipped in 12 points each.
As was the case on Sunday night against the Hornets, the Celtics got off to a very slow start in the first quarter. The team shot just 31 percent from the field in the opening frame, and were short on a number of shot attempts. Brown was the only bright spot, with a few layups and dunk off of a back door cut. The Boston defense was also lacking. The Cavs were getting open looks and wide driving lanes, and converting on most of their shots. It was very apparent that one team was playing their first preseason game, and one was playing their third.
There was little change in the second quarter. There was no spurt from the bench unit, no explosion from Jayson Tatum. The Cavs increased their lead and went into the locker room with a 59-40 halftime lead. After scoring over 60 points in the first half of both of their previous two games, the Celtics could only muster 40 points on 39 percent shooting, and missed all of their three point shots.
After the rugged first half, Brad Stevens switched things up and started the second half with the "BWA" plus Terry Rozier, who started in place of Kyrie. Smart hit the Celtics' first three of the game (of course he did), and Aron Baynes injected some life into the team with a few stellar defensive plays. The bench mob cut the lead down to 10 late in the third quarter, but were never able to get over the hump. The starters, outside of Rozier, didn't play in the second half.
Gordon Hayward continued to make slow strides in the right direction in his long recovery journey. Seven points and three rebounds doesn't sound like much, but Hayward was seeking out contact and going strong to the rim. His confidence is continuing to grow, and the shots will start to fall.
The deep bench players were able to make the final a score a bit more respectable, with guys like Walt Lemon Jr. and rookie Robert Williams showing their worth, but Boston couldn't overcome the early hole they dug themselves.
The Celtics will play their final preseason game against the Cavs in Cleveland on Saturday, Oct. 6.
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Photo via Boston Celtics/Twitter