Whatever it was, the Cavs had the worst performance of the season on Sunday night in Boston, losing 141-103. The losses come after the Cavs swept the Brooklyn Nets in a two-game series in Cleveland earlier this week and played some of their best basketball of the season. The Celtics, meanwhile, were coming off two straight losses to the 76ers and were without All-Star Jayson Tatum due to COVID-19.
The game started poorly for Cleveland, with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff so upset with his starting lineup’s play that he inserted a whole new five-man unit less than three minutes into the game. When Bickerstaff made the move, the Cavs were down 11-2 and hadn’t scored since Andre Drummond scored from four-feet out 17 seconds into the game.
It did not better from there. Cleveland was outscored by 17 in the first quarter and by five in the second quarter, giving Boston a 22-point halftime lead. The Celtics then added 14 points to their lead in the third quarter and, by the six-minute mark of the fourth, both teams had pulled their starters (sans rookie Isaac Okoro for Cleveland) with the result all but official.
For the Cavs, Drummond had 11 points and 5 rebounds — only the second time Drummond has not finished with a double-double this season. Collin Sexton finished with just 13 points — the first time he did not score 20 points or more in a game this season. As a group, the Cavs shot 40.5% from the field vs. Boston’s 55.4%.
Tristan Thompson, in his first game against the Cavs as a member of the Celtics, had 5 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Up next: The Cavs play tomorrow against LeBron James and the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers, who are undefeated on the road this season. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.