Takeaways: Cleveland Cavaliers crash Boston Celtics' party in Game 2 blowout victory

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

118. 156. Cavs Win game 2 Celtics 2024. 94. 18. Final

Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert powered the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers in the first half, and more Wine and Gold members came alive to finish the job in the second, upsetting the Boston Celtics in Game 2. The difference was the guests’ production on the glass, some hot three-point shooting and their work shutting down the outside attack.

Both teams held nine-point leads in the first frame, but the Cavs led 30-24 at its end. In the nearly five minutes Mitchell and Mobley sat in the second quarter, the Celtics answered on an 18-9 run.

The game was tied at 54 at halftime, but the Cavaliers were up on the glass by six and had committed four more turnovers than the Celtics.

Afterward, Mobley got into foul trouble with two penalties in the third quarter, pushing his total to four. When he sat, the Cavaliers were up nine points. Tristan Thompson was subbed in Mobley's place, and he mucked things up for the Celtics by coming into the paint as help and crashing both sides of the glass. The Cavs ended the third quarter up a dozen points.

Donovan Mitchell took over in the fourth quarter, and Max Strus downed multiple trays. Mitchell provided seven points on three-of-four shooting in the final 12 minutes, ending the night with 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla emptied the bench with five minutes left as the visitors led by 24.

The Cavaliers won 118-94. Additionally, the crew had 60 paint points, 14 on the break, five via second chances, 10 off turnovers and 30 from the bench.

Mitchell handled the on-court interview. First, he shouted out Mobley's contributions for setting the tone and then complimented the play of LeVert. When asked about his confidence, he said it was high and “we have some things we can adjust. Tonight, we executed very well, but at the end of the day, it’s one win. Continue to build upon it, take care of business at home and protect home court.”

Let’s examine what happened as the Cavaliers gear up to host the Celtics in Cleveland.

Evan Mobley stepped up for Cavaliers

Evan Mobley carried the Cavaliers early, but it initially looked like another night he was stuck in his shell. On one of his first touches, he made the wrong move into the lane with Derrick White on his back hip, then saw Al Horford coming as a helper and passed out to the corner.

But later, he dished to Okoro twice on the break and connected with LeVert in transition for another deuce. As a setup man in the half court, he flicked a bounce pass to LeVert, cutting towards the cup on the right side for two points, and set up Strus’ drive through the middle for a bucket with a handoff.

As a scorer, he dunked from the baseline, made a two-foot hook over Horford, rim rolled for a jam, swished a turnaround jumper facing Luke Kornet and cashed a tray in the first quarter. His well-rounded production opened up the court for his teammates to capitalize on extra opportunities.

In the second quarter, Mobley and Mitchell executed a pick-and-roll set, resulting in a dunk for the former. Out of intermission, Mobley slammed a lob thrown by Michell in transition and nailed a jumper in the paint.

He also hooked over Jaylen Brown in the paint, pushing the Cavaliers’ lead to 20 points with over five minutes to go in the game.

He finished with 21 points on nine of 15 shots, with 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal and two blocks.

Caris LeVert gave the Cavs a huge boost off the bench

LeVert was the Cavaliers’ second most important player in the first half, accumulating 12 points on 50 percent shooting, with three rebounds and a dime.

He followed up in the second half, making a fadeaway jumper on the left side, breaking into the square and shooting over Horford, dribbling left past Jayson Tatum for a left-handed scoop and finishing a layup on the break.

Donovan Mitchell's dominant second half

In the first half, Mitchell did not have to put the team on his back and battle through every hit to keep the Cavs in the game. LeVert and Mobley set the stage for a massive second half for Mitchell, and the superstar took every opportunity in stride.

Mitchell registered 23 points on eight-of-13 attempts in the second half with a diversified attack. He incinerated Boston’s long-range protections with five three-pointers. He also got inside the paint, like a boxer going to the body, by dribbling by Sam Hauser for a nine-foot bucket, using a horns set to spin to the cup past Brown and making a running hook in transition.

Mitchell also had three assists and three rebounds in the second half.

Tristan Thompson's burst of energy:

Tristan Thompson gave the Cavaliers a massive boost in the third quarter when Evan Mobley had to sit with foul trouble. When he checked in, the Cavs were up 10 points. In almost five minutes of action, Thompson played solid defense, recovered two boards and blocked Tatum’s shot in transition. The squad ended the frame with Thompson on the floor, up a dozen points.

As a team, the Cavaliers whooped the Celtics on the glass 44-31. Cleveland’s seven offensive rebounds took away possessions and returned five second-chance points. Defensively, the group picked up 83 percent of defensive rebounds.

Mobley was the leader on the glass with 10 boards. Mitchell and Garland both had seven, and Strus and LeVert followed with six each.

Cleveland’s 3-point shooting

After a first round with pitiful shooting every night, the Cavaliers came alive in Game 2 against Boston from beyond the arc. The Celtics had no answers for Mitchell hitting deep step-back jumpers or pull-ups off the dribble. Garland burned a switch up top and shot over Horford, Tatum and Kornet in drop coverage. The rest of the Cavaliers made four of 16 three-pointers.

Boston’s 3-point shooting

Jaylen Brown missed all six tries as Strus, LeVert, Mobley and Okoro contested on time. Derrick White and Jrue Holiday combined for one-of-10 deep looks, guarded well or out of rhythm. The rest of the Celtics made seven of 19 three-pointers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers now return to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Games 3 and 4. The Celtics will look to return to form on Saturday, May 11 with an 8:30pm Eastern Time tip off.

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