Victor Oladipo, Caron Butler lead Celtics to 104-94 win over Cavaliers
The Boston Celtics have won their first three games after winning two in a row.
Caron Butler scored 18 points and four rebounds, and Victor Olads added 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks as the Boston Celtics improved to 103-94 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland, which had lost three straight, held a 55-35 advantage in offensive rebounds, but its edge on defense was erased in the fourth quarter.
Boston won for the ninth time in its past 11 matchups with the Cavaliers, including a 103-98 victory over New Orleans on Jan. 26.
This time, it wasn’t just a one-point advantage, either.
The Celtics held the Cavaliers to 36.3 percent shooting and 35.5 percent from 3-point range.
The Cavs made 15 of 22 3-pointers, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.
They also shot just 40 percent from behind the arc and finished at 26.8 percent.
“They’re a tough team,” Butler said.
“We’ve got to keep playing the same way and they’ll figure it out.
We have to come back and play with a lot of confidence and we’ve got the players to do that.”
The Cavs improved to 8-4 against the Celtics since the All-Star break after averaging 114.3 points and 43.4 percent shooting.
Boston, which was playing without Kevin Love, scored 39 points in the first half.
Clevelanders guard Dion Waiters scored 21 points.
James returned after missing 10 games with a left calf strain, while Carmelo Anthony was sidelined with an illness.
No. 8 seed Cleveland led by as many as 13 points with 13:11 left in the third quarter, but Boston hit the break with a 16-2 run that extended its lead to 69-53 heading into the fourth.
Clevelands center Andrew Wiggins scored 18 of his points in a stretch of 13:23.
That helped the Cavs tie it at 62 on a 3-pointer by Olads.
After the game, coach Brad Stevens talked about the team’s improved defense.
“I think our guys did a good job of rebounding, and we didn’t allow them to get into a rhythm offensively,” Stevens said.
Rashard Lewis had 17 points for the Cavaliers.
Anthony, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, said he was feeling better.
“[The ankle] kind of healed up and I felt like I was back in the game,” he said.
“The next step is coming back.
That’s the plan.
It’s been a tough two weeks.”