Celtics vs. Cavaliers highlights, takeaways: Cavaliers rout Celtics in Boston to even series at 1-1

The second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs continued on Thursday night, as the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers played in Game 2 of their second-round series at TD Garden. In their Game 1 victory, the Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown (32 points), Derrick White (25) and Payton Pritchard, who scored 16 points off the bench.

It was a different story this time around as the Cavaliers were able to beat the Celtics handily to even up the series. 

After Thursday, the series shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 (Saturday) and Game 4 (Monday). The Celtics won two of their three games against the Cavaliers during the regular season, but Cleveland won the only game it played at home.

Celtics vs. Cavaliers, Game 2 score

  • Cavaliers 118, Celtics 94 (Series tied 1-1)

CBS Sports provided live updates, analysis and highlights throughout the game. Follow along below.

Here are some key takeaways from the game:

Cavaliers win the 3-point battle

The Celtics’ 3-point shooting is their biggest offensive weapon, and they led the league in makes (16.5) and attempts (42.5) per game during the regular season, and were second in percentage (38.8). But after making 18 3s in their Game 1 win, the Celtics could not buy a basket on Thursday night. In fact, they went 8-of-35 to record their second-worst shooting game of the entire season.

On the other side, the Cavaliers had their best 3-point shooting game of the playoffs. They were particularly hot in the third quarter, when they went 7-of-10, and finished the game 13-of-28 despite a number of bad misses in garbage time. Donovan Mitchell led the way with five triples, while Darius Garland added four, as they outscored the Celtics by 15 from behind the arc. 

This game was similar to Game 2 between the Celtics and Miami Heat in the first round, when the Heat made a franchise-record 23 3s. While the Cavaliers didn’t match that volume, their shotmaking was tremendous. All seven of their 3s in the third quarter were off the dribble, and Mitchell even banked one in to start the fourth. Furthermore, it came in a game where the Celtics were ice cold. 

Mobley steps up

With Jarrett Allen still out due to a rib injury, the Cavaliers needed young big man Evan Mobley to step up on both sides of the ball. He did just that with the best playoff game of his career: 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks on 9-of-15 shooting. 

It was no surprise that Mitchell started his post-game interview on the court by giving Mobley a shoutout. He was excellent all night long and helped set the tone for the Cavaliers by being aggressive looking for his own shot, protecting the rim and controlling the glass. 

These are the type of performances that the Cavaliers need more often from Mobley. He has immense talent, but there are too many games where he is a non-factor on the offensive end. When he’s playing like he did in Game 2, the Cavaliers are a much more dangerous team. 

Celtics need Tatum to shoot better

Jayson Tatum is a great player and impacts the game in so many ways. He’s leading the Celtics in rebounding, assists and blocks during the playoffs, and the attention he draws from opponents makes life much easier for all of his teammates. 

That being said, he’s averaging 21.7 points on 40.7/26.8/81.7 shooting splits, and has shot 50% in just one game during the postseason. This is his lowest scoring average in the playoffs since 2019, and the least efficient postseason of his career so far. 

His approach on offense has been terrific, and the answer isn’t for him to start forcing shots. He does, however, have to start making more of the ones he’s taking. The Celtics will probably still win this series, but it would be a lot easier for them to do so if their best player wasn’t shooting 40% from the field. 

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