Celtics show evolving maturation in win over Cavs

Halfway through the first quarter, Boston was trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers by 15 points, raising serious questions about whether the team could continue its 10-game winning streak at home. These skepticisms were allayed by Boston's intermission deficit-erasing performance. In the second half, Cleveland scored more runs, but the Celtics countered more forcefully. With just seven seconds remaining in the game, Cleveland was prepared to raise the white flag when the pressure got to them.

Celtics show evolving maturation in win over Cavs

Celtics show evolving maturation in win over Cavs

Boston — Adversity has been scarce for the Boston Celtics at TD Garden this season, but it did show up on Tuesday night in the first quarter.

Halfway through the first quarter, Boston was trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers by 15 points, raising serious questions about whether the team could continue its 10-game winning streak at home. These skepticisms were allayed by Boston's intermission deficit-erasing performance. In the second half, Cleveland scored more runs, but the Celtics countered more forcefully. With just seven seconds remaining in the game, Cleveland was prepared to raise the white flag when the pressure got to them.

The Cavs were out of gas as the Celtics won 120-113 to extend their home winning streak to 11 games. Boston's offense was simply too good. Together with their league-best offensive rating of 125.7, they have a plus-16.3 net rating at TD Garden.

Even though they have had comparatively easy wins at home, Boston has a history of acting quickly to overcome difficulties when things aren't going as planned. The Celtics have overcome double-digit deficits at halftime in both of their home games this season—against Miami and Cleveland. Tuesday night's victory over the Cavaliers was the team's largest comeback victory since February 2023—a feat uncommon during the remarkable campaign of the previous year.

Despite having almost the same record through 22 games over the previous two seasons, the Celtics feel different because of victories like the one they had on Tuesday. With a scorching 47 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent on 3-pointers, the Cavaliers showed no signs of weakness. Rather, Boston counterattacked and won the game, making a few smart changes along the way.

Kristaps Porzingis remarked, "They came out very aggressive and we came out a little bit less aggressive." They struck first, and we responded by taking the blow to the chin and regaining control of the match. And then, yes, we were close at halftime, but in the second half, I thought we really got things going. However, they continued to fight the entire game. They did, in fact. We were strong and were able to win these games because they were physical, aggressive, and had a solid game plan. Our ability to perform well under duress and our mental toughness impressed me greatly in the second half of the game. So, I believe that we definitely made progress.

The Celtics' dominance at home is noteworthy, even though they haven't yet demonstrated that same mental toughness away from home in close games. The Celtics are playing a lot more poised and adaptable game on both ends, which is encouraging for the big picture regardless of who they are against.

"Many excellent teams exist," stated Coach Joe Mazzulla. "We didn't live up to that expectation, in my opinion, and tonight was a great example of it. We should be thankful for games like this, in my opinion, as they present a chance for us to play playoff basketball without an In-Season Tournament court in Game 22. We need to be thankful for this, as I mentioned several times in the huddle. This is a fantastic chance. Additionally, we need to let go of the notion that this will be a difficult battle. Yes, they are tough matches in the NBA. And it will benefit us if we can accept it.

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