Darius Garland and the surging Cleveland Cavaliers will look to cool off Dennis Schroder and the visiting Boston Celtics when the teams meet Saturday night for the first of two games over three days in Cleveland.
Garland’s season-high-tying 21 points and seven assists helped carry the Cavaliers to a 98-78 victory over visiting Detroit on Friday. Cleveland’s Cedi Osman added 17 points off the bench while rookie Evan Mobley had 16 points and seven rebounds.
Cleveland recovered from a 97-94 setback against Washington on Wednesday to win for the fifth time in six games after losing four of seven to open the season.
“This is a big win, a bounce-back game for us,” Garland said. “We knew the importance of it coming off the loss a couple nights ago and being back at home — we’ve got to take care of home.”
The game was tight early before Osman’s layup with 2:19 to go in the opening quarter put Cleveland ahead for good.
“We played the game to our identity, no matter who our opponent was, and that’s growth for us,” said Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “I thought we were tough-minded, I thought we were physical … all those things that we need to be, I thought we were.”
Cavaliers forward Lamar Stevens is questionable for Saturday’s game after he exited with a right-ankle sprain in the first quarter against Detroit. Forwards Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen remained out while in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Schroder’s season-high 38 points and eight rebounds paced the Celtics to a 122-113 overtime win at home against Milwaukee on Friday. Jayson Tatum added 27 points and 11 rebounds and Marcus Smart totaled 19 points and six assists for the Celtics.
The Celtics overcame a scrappy Bucks team that was playing without injured two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton (health and safety protocols). Boston led for much of the second half before Milwaukee buckled down in the fourth quarter to force OT.
“There’s always a natural letdown (when their stars are out),” first-year Celtics coach Ime Udoka said, adding that his message to his players was: ‘Don’t let it be an inclination to let down.’ “Naturally when their guy is missing, the other guys are going to play hard.”
Schroder scored eight of the Celtics’ 14 points in overtime while Boston held Milwaukee to five in the extra period.
“Just being aggressive in overtime, it worked out and I just tried to pick my spots,” Schroder said.
Boston won for the fourth time in five games after beginning the season with five losses in seven games to begin Udoka’s tenure.
Tatum’s co-star Jaylen Brown missed his third straight game Friday with a Grade 1 right-hamstring strain. However, Udoka said the All-Star forward will travel with the Celtics on their three-game trip.
The Cavaliers won two of their three meetings with the Celtics a season ago. Collin Sexton, who is out indefinitely after suffering a left-meniscus tear Sunday at New York, averaged 23.3 points across the three games for Cleveland.
Tatum averaged 29 points while playing in just two of the three meetings for Boston.
–Field Level Media