BSJ Game Report: Celtics 102, Cavs 88 — Statement game?

(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Everything you need to know about the Celtics’ 102-88 win over the Cavs in quickie form.


Defense shines: The Cavs looked old and tired for this matchup on the second half of a back-to-back, but the Celtics' defense still played at another level for most of the night. Boston limited the Cavs to a season-low 88 points on 34.8 percent shooting from the field and also held the Cavs to just 25 percent shooting from 3-point range, making one of the league’s best offenses look very vulnerable without Isaiah Thomas.

Bench backcourt steps up: During a fairly ordinary night for Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, it was the young guns that stepped up their play. Terry Rozier scored a team-high 20 points off the bench in just 20 minutes while Marcus Smart added 15 points off the pine. Both guys preyed on a lackluster Cavs defense all night and used their aggression to build an edge early that the Celtics rode to the finish line.