NBA: Cavs face Celtics in bid for sixth straight win
The visiting Boston Celtics will be out for revenge while the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to continue their early season surge when the teams meet Wednesday night.
Boston and Cleveland will meet for the second time in six days, as the Cavaliers rallied from seven points down in the fourth quarter Friday in Boston to hand the Celtics their first home loss, 132-123 in overtime.
The Cavaliers have won five straight after losing their season opener. The Celtics rebounded from losses to the Chicago Bulls and Cavaliers with a home win over Washington on Sunday night.
While Cleveland star Donovan Mitchell has been hot for his new team, averaging 32.2 points in their first six games, forward Dean Wade has played a key role, scoring 22 on Sunday as the Cavaliers rallied from a nine-point deficit at home in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Knicks 121-108.
“We just didn’t stop competing,” Wade said. “There were a lot of different times in the game where we could have folded or gave in, but we didn’t. We just kept fighting every possession. Even when (the Knicks) were on their little run, we never stopped. That was the main thing. We didn’t stop; we kept believing in ourselves and just kept fighting.”
Making his third straight start, Wade — a fourth-year forward from Kansas State — went 6 of 8 from 3-point range and 8 of 11 from the floor overall. He added four rebounds and three assists.
The Celtics are coming off a 112-94 win over Washington in which they built a 19-point first-quarter lead. Jaylen Brown finished with 24 points while newcomer Malcolm Brogdon led an impressive bench effort, scoring 23 in the win.
The bench helped Boston maintain its lead and pull away late, combining for 48 points for the game.
The second unit shot 55.6 percent from the field, 56.3 percent from 3-point range, and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
“I want us to believe we’re a starting group as well,” Brogdon said of the bench effort. “When we’re in there, we play like starters. We play with that energy, we play with that confidence every night as soon as we step on the floor, and that’s what we’ve been doing for the majority of the season thus far.”
Reserve Sam Hauser added nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
“(We wanted) to make sure there’s no drop-off, bring energy, play hard, know who you are guarding, know personnel, and know what we’re trying to do on both ends of the floor,” Hauser said.
Brogdon has fit in well with Boston’s two biggest stars, Brown and Jayson Tatum. Tatum leads the Celtics in scoring at 30.8 points per game while Brown is No. 2 at 25.3.
“I think the guys respect me, and they know I play both ends of the ball,” said Brogdon, who ranks third on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game. “I think you gotta practice what you preach before you start preaching, and they’ve seen me give effort on both ends and they’re willing to listen and work with me.”
–Field Level Media