Final: Cavs 102, Celtics 99

Brian Robb/Boston Sports Journal

CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving had a chance for a memorable finish during his first game in Cleveland as a visitor. The point guard airballed a 3-point attempt while contested by LeBron James as time expired, resulting in the Celtics coming up short by a 102-99 deficit in the season opener in Cleveland. The visitors fought back from an 18-point second half deficit but they ultimately couldn't slow down LeBron James (29 points, 16 rebounds, 9 assists) enough to complete the comeback in the fourth quarter.


  • Irving had a nice long rest during the C's run in the third quarter and it showed immediately with his shooting, hitting a trio of 3s at the start of the frame
  • LeBron James isn't getting much help from his teammates in the second half. He's been doing enough to keep his team in it with a mix of inside and outside play.
  • Just a miserable 3-point shooting night by both squads. Both teams have been languishing in the 20-30 percent range all night long
  • Jaylen Brown hit a career-high 23 points midway through the frame.


  • Marcus Smart gets the start in place of Gordon Hayward to start second half.
  • Celtics show some life immediately out of the gate after intermission with a pair of hustle plays resulting in the first field goals of the night for Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum. Forces an early timeout by Ty Lue
  • Two rare technicals from Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in the first few minutes of the third quarter. Very uncharacteristic of both players. Irving's actually came out of timeout after jawing with some Cavs players. Meanwhile, former teammates Crowder and Horford got into it as well. Looked like a questionable call on Horford though, who was begging for an explanation afterwards
  • If Celtics are going to win this game tonight, it's going to be because of Jaylen Brown's energy. His handle remains iffy but he's been all over the floor in transition to lead the Celtics with 16 points in just 22 minutes.
  • Shane Larkin gets his first action of the regular season alongside Terry Rozier with the bench unit. This is likely to be the trend until Morris returns.
  • Smart and Tatum combined in first half: 0-of-14, 2 points Smart and Tatum combined in third quarter: 8-of-10, 20 points.
  • Those incredible efforts from Brown and Tatum helped close a 18-point Cavs lead to just one-point at the end of the frame. Some great work by the C's in this frame with Irving on the pine.

FIRST HALF UPDATES (Cavs lead 54-38 at half)

  • Celtics have looked understandably shellshocked since the Hayward injury. Cavs offense has gotten rolling and C's haven't found any real sources of offense outside of Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown
  • Very rocky opening stint for Marcus Smart who went 0-of-6 from the field in his opening 10 minutes.
  • Hayward was reportedly visited by LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas in the locker room according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
  • Semi Ojeleye was the first rookie big off the bench for Boston, but failed to make a real impact in his opening eight minutes. Cavs went on a double-digit run with him in the game.
  • Kyrie Irving did some nice feasting on Derrick Rose in the first quarter before Gordon Hayward went down, but Cavs have done a nice job corralling him since then with a mix of defenders including J.R. Smith.
  • LeBron James having his way with the Celtics early, flirting with a triple-double in the first half despite being questionable for the contest with an ankle sprain beforehand.
  • Cavs went on a 20-7 run after the Hayward injury to close out the first quarter.