Gordon Hayward and the Boston Celtics just keep rolling.
The Celts cruised to their fifth straight win on Friday afternoon with a 129-117 victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers in a TD Garden matinee. Gordon stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, a team-high eight assists, and five rebounds in just 28 minutes of action. The game marked Gordon’s fifth in 14 starts this season with at least six assists.
Meanwhile, a pair of young stars held it down for Boston in the scoring column as Jaylen Brown re-upped his career-high previously set on Christmas Day, with 34 points on 13-of-20 from the field and 5-of-10 from deep. Jayson Tatum tacked on 30 points on 11-of-20 from the field and also buried 5-of-10 from deep.
“We’ve known from the moment that they stepped on the court when they first started games together, even before Gordon got hurt – when we had those guys in that first training camp you could see it was pretty unique,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “When we drafted Jayson we thought that being able to have those two versatile wings that could guard in a number of different positions and do a number of different things, but also weren’t exactly the same players but would be good complements for each other.”
Boston seized control from the jump on Friday, outscoring the Cavs by double digits in the first frame. That included a big dunk by Gordon that broke a 9-9 tie.
The Celtics continued to pour it on early and led by 15 at the break. Gordon started the second half with a three-point play on a drive to the rack, then followed with a dime to Kemba Walker, which made it a 17-point game. After Cleveland cut the deficit to 12, No. 20 again drove to the bucket for two and followed with another dime, this time to Brown for a trey to push it right back to 17.
A strong run by the Cavs into the start of the fourth had Boston’s lead down to eight, however, Tatum stopped the bleeding with a three off an assist from Gordon. Moments later, G found Grant Williams for a triple to push it to 13. Soon thereafter, Brown scored eight consecutive points with an incredible individual effort to put the game away. After the game, Brown commented on the balance of the Boston offense, and what they need to do to continue to succeed.
“We definitely have to continue to have the right balance and make the right plays and the right reads, and continue to get better. We still have our best day in front of us as a team. We have to continue to strive, and make it less about the opponent and more about us. We have to get better. We are looking to be a team playing defense into the postseason this year, so every game counts and every game is a chance to get better. Every game is an opportunity, and we have to make sure we seize it.”
The streaking Celtics have a quick turnaround with a Christmas Day rematch ahead as they welcome the Toronto Raptors to Boston on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Boston.