One step too slow in Boston: Behind the numbers of Celtics’ second victory over Cavs…

CLEVELAND, Ohio – For the second time in three nights, the Cavs faced the NBA’s elite.

They were a step — sometimes even two — behind and ultimately fell to the Boston Celtics, 116-107, Thursday night at TD Garden.Cleveland has lost three straight games and is closing in on the .500 mark in basketball. Boston improved to an NBA-best 12-0 at home. Catch up most of the night. A nitrous boost from a lone bench piece. A fourth quarter plagued by second chance points and turnovers. Here’s a deeper look at how the Cavs (13-12) lost to the Celtics (18-5) for the second straight game, behind the numbers. The Celtics’ starting five of Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White shot 61 percent from the field in the first quarter, allowing Boston to take a 33-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. They shot 11 of 18, while the Celtics as a whole shot 12 of 20. The five finished with 96 of the Celtics’ 116 points. According to player data, all nine of Tatum’s baskets came after he touched the ball for more than two seconds. He was just 2-of-8 on pull-up 3-pointers.Tatum finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. The Cavs’ offense didn’t score a dream goal until 7:45 left in the second quarter, when a layup by Darius Garland cut the lead to 42-32. Cleveland finished the quarter with 30 points but still trailed 65-54 at halftime. The Celtics had seven buckets in the restricted area as they pounded the paint. Caris LeVert came off the bench in the third quarter with 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting, including 3 of 3 from long range. This was his second best quarter of the season. The Celtics scored eight points off six offensive rebounds and seven points off three turnovers. The 15 extra points made up the bulk of the final score in the fourth period. Boston finished the game with 13 offensive rebounds and scored 21 points off 16 Cavs turnovers. Cleveland was 11 of 33 from deep. According to team tracking data from, 10 of the Cavs’ 11 3-pointers came from long range (6 feet or more). They were 10 out of 23 in this situation. Boston was 3 of 12 such shots. Cleveland finished four games on 39.5% 3-point shooting with a defender 6-foot-4 or taller.

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