Despite being short-handed, the Boston Celtics cruised to a 123-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night at the TD Garden. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford both sat out against the Cavs, but Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown took care of business.
G-Time and Brown led a second unit that buried the Cavs. The Celtics’ bench doubled the scoring from the Cavs’ reserves, outpacing them 60-30 in the game. No. 20 scored 18 of those points and grabbed five rebounds while Brown poured in 23 points in an efficient offensive performance.
Boston had six players score in double digits, three of them coming off the bench. Meanwhile, Rozier, filling in for Irving as he did much of last season, and he led the offense with 26 points on only 13 shots. He also had six assists and eight rebounds in the win.
“I think ultimately, I think Terry’s played not only well tonight, but has had the better part of the last few games, he’s been very good,” coach Brad Stevens said about Rozier’s play. “I’m really encouraged by him.”
Cleveland led 30-27 at the end of the first quarter, despite Rozier’s 16 points. However, a big second quarter pushed Boston in front and they never looked back from there.
Gordon started out hot, hitting his first two attempts late in the first to keep the Celtics afloat. In the second frame, he got it working on the defensive end, grabbing a pair of steals while helping Boston establish and maintain momentum. The Cs outscored the Cavs by 18 in the second frame to establish a 15-point halftime advantage.
Cleveland fought back in the third, but by scoring eight of his 16 points in the fourth, G helped the Celtics put the Cavs away and pick up their fifth straight victory. Gordon shot 60 percent from the floor and converted six of his seven free throw attempts to go along with five rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes of game action.
Although he does not have a starting role, when G-Time is on, the Celtics are generally successful. In the 22 games he’s scored at least 10 points, the Celtics are 16-6. And No. 20 has been turning it on lately, with his 13.2 points-per-game through the month of January leading Boston bench players and ranking third overall on the team.
After hitting a speed bump with a three-game losing streak in mid-January, the Celtics are back on track, holding a 9-3 record in the month of January. Currently, Boston sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for fourth and just five games back from first.
The Celtics will be back in action on Saturday night when they host the defending champion Golden State Warriors at TD Garden on Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET and the game will air nationally on ABC.