Jayson Tatum’s 33-point performance leads the Boston Celtics to a 109-102 victory over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers

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Jayson Tatum congratulates Jaylen Brown

Even when things are supposed to be easy, the Boston Celtics often find a way to make them challenging. On Monday night, they faced some difficulties against a Cleveland team that was missing key players.

Jayson Tatum scored 33 points while LeBron James watched from courtside. Despite the challenge, the Celtics managed to defeat the severely undermanned Cavaliers 109-102 in Game 4, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Jaylen Brown contributed 27 points for the Celtics, who have the opportunity to close out the series with a win in Game 5 at home on Wednesday night.

“It took us a little while to get going, and stop ball watching and play some basketball,” said Brown. If Game 6 is necessary, it will be held at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday.

The Cavaliers faced a tough situation with two key players, Donovan Mitchell (calf) and Jarrett Allen (ribs), sidelined due to injuries. Their status for the upcoming games is uncertain.

Injuries have been a recurring issue for the Cleveland team throughout the season, making it challenging for them to compete without Mitchell, their All-Star guard who has been pivotal in the postseason, and Allen, their top rebounder.

Tristan Thompson jumps to complete the basket

Still, the Cavaliers gave a tough challenge to the top-seeded Celtics, who have sometimes relaxed at crucial moments.

“They gave it their all,” said Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff about his team. “They put everything they had into it. They competed at a high level, played the game the right way. I’m proud of the guys for their effort, the way they fought and competed, giving us a chance.”

Tatum continued his strong performance for the second game in a row, also grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out five assists. Jrue Holiday contributed 16 points for Boston, who remains unbeaten on the road in the postseason with a 4-0 record.

“There’s no better feeling than winning a playoff game on the road,” said Tatum. “It’s a tough environment, and the crowd was great. Now, it’s time to return to Boston and perform well in front of our fans, giving them something to cheer about.”

Darius Garland led the Cavaliers with 30 points, while Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert each scored 19 points. The Cavaliers stayed close to the Celtics and were only trailing by 10 points going into the fourth quarter.

Boston extended their lead to 15 points with a jumper by Brown, but Cleveland fought back with a 10-2 run, including 3-pointers from Garland and Dean Wade.

With the score at 102-97, the Cavaliers had a chance to put immense pressure on the Celtics, but Max Strus missed a crucial 3-pointer. Brown then sealed the win for Boston with a 3-pointer, despite colliding with official Tyler Ford, giving the Celtics some breathing room.

Donovan Mitchell looks at the ball in the first half of the game

Brown mentioned that Ford nearly caused trouble for the Celtics by getting in his way. “I thought he had an impact on the play,” Brown remarked. “We need to be more attentive. But since the shot went in, it’s not a big deal.”

The Cavaliers felt that the difference in free throws was a significant factor — Boston had 24 attempts compared to Cleveland’s seven. “That’s unfair,” Garland commented. “It’s hard to only get seven free throws. I know how often I and my teammates get fouled. It’s challenging.”

James, who spent 11 seasons with Cleveland in two separate stints, returned to his former home arena. This visit sparked speculation about his future team.

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer can choose to leave the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, but James has not made any final decisions.

The 39-year-old sat with his wife, Savannah, and agent Rich Paul, receiving a huge ovation from Cleveland’s crowd when he appeared on the scoreboard during a timeout in the first quarter.

Despite struggling with a left knee injury for several months, Mitchell averaged 29.6 points in the first 10 playoff games, including scoring 50 points in a Game 6 loss to Orlando.

Lebron James enjoying the game

He hurt his calf near the end of Cleveland’s defeat in Game 3 on Saturday and was listed as questionable on Sunday’s injury report. Despite receiving continuous treatment, Mitchell didn’t have sufficient time to recover.

Following the game, the five-time All-Star didn’t provide any comments and simply nodded as he left the locker room. Allen remained sidelined for the seventh consecutive game due to a painful injury he sustained in the previous round.

With Holiday scoring seven consecutive points, the Celtics took a 13-point lead in the second quarter and seemed poised to dominate the Cavs.

However, Cleveland fought back strongly. Strus, who has struggled with his shooting from outside throughout the playoffs, made consecutive 3-pointers in a 13-3 run, allowing the Cavs to narrow the gap to 62-57 by halftime.

Boston’s center Kristaps Porzingis missed his fifth consecutive game, but the Celtics were encouraged by his ability to engage in some on-court activities.


By James Brown

A passionate and driven individual currently pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Born on 06 February, hails from Raipur, where their journey into the world of technology and creativity began.

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