Donovan Mitchell scored 16 of his 29 points in the third quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers answered with a blowout of their own in a 118-94 win over the Boston Celtics to even their second-round playoff series at one game apiece on Thursday.

Evan Mobley had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caris LeVert added 21 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, who won their first road playoff game in five tries this postseason.

Cleveland lost the series opener on Tuesday by 25 points but seized the lead in the third quarter with Mitchell sinking four of five from 3-point range. He hit three straight baskets early in the fourth, including a 28-foot, banked 3 to make it 95-80.

Boston never got the deficit under double digits after that.

Jayson Tatum scored 25 points and Jayen Brown added 19 but combined to shoot 14 for 34, including 2 for 11 from 3-point range for the Celtics, who were 8 for 35 from beyond the arc.

Derrick White was limited to 10 points and misfired on seven of eight from deep after he had 25 points in Game 1.

Boston center Kristaps Porzingis missed his third straight game with a strained calf muscle.

Mobley started at center in place of Jarrett Allen, who has missed the last five games with bruised ribs.

Mavericks beat Thunder to even series

Luka Doncic had 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a bounce-back performance as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 119-110, to even their second-round series at a game apiece.

P.J. Washington had 29 points with seven 3-pointers and grabbed 11 rebounds and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points off the bench for Dallas, who will host Game 3 on Saturday.

After he was limited to 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting in Game 1, Doncic was 11 of 21 from the field and 5 for 8 from 3-point range in this one.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and Jalen Williams added 20 points for the Thunder, who lost for the first time in six playoff games and allowed over 100 points for the first time this postseason.

Gilgeous-Alexander's layup with 7:13 remaining drew the Thunder within 106-101, but Doncic hit a pair of jumpers and Washington dunked to make it 112-101 with 4:14 to play.  

Donovan Mitchell scored 16 of his 29 points in the third quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers answered with a blowout of their own in a 118-94 win over the Boston Celtics to even their second-round playoff series at one game apiece on Thursday.

Evan Mobley had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caris LeVert added 21 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, who won their first road playoff game in five tries this postseason.

Cleveland lost the series opener on Tuesday by 25 points but seized the lead in the third quarter with Mitchell sinking 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He hit three straight baskets early in the fourth, including a 28-foot, banked 3 to make it 95-80.

Boston never got the deficit under double digits after that.

Jayson Tatum scored 25 points and Jayen Brown added 19 but combined to shoot 14 for 34, including 2 for 11 from 3-point range for the Celtics, who were 8 for 35 from beyond the arc.

Derrick White was limited to 10 points and misfired on 7 of 8 from deep after he had 25 points in Game 1.

Boston center Kristaps Porzingis missed his third straight game with a strained calf muscle.

Mobley started at center in place of Jarrett Allen, who has missed the last five games with bruised ribs.

Mavericks beat Thunder to even series

Luka Dončić had 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a bounce-back performance as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 119-110, to even their second-round series at a game apiece.

P.J. Washington had 29 points with seven 3-pointers and grabbed 11 rebounds and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points off the bench for Dallas, which hosts Game 3 on Saturday.

After he was limited to 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting in Game 1, Doncic was 11 of 21 from the field and 5 of 8 from 3-point range in this one.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and Jalen Williams added 20 points for the Thunder, who lost for the first time in six playoff games and allowed over 100 points for the first time.

Gilgeous-Alexander's layup with 7:13 remaining drew the Thunder within 106-101, but Doncic hit a pair of jumpers and Washington dunked to make it 112-101 with 4:14 to play.  

The Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Frank Vogel, the franchise announced Thursday, ending his tenure after one disappointing season.

Vogel’s Suns failed to live up to lofty expectations after investing almost all their future draft capital in acquiring veteran All-Stars Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal.

The Suns went 49-33 this season and needed a late 10-4 stretch to avoid the play-in tournament as the Western Conference’s No. 6 seed. Phoenix was eliminated from the playoffs by the Minnesota Timberwolves in a first-round sweep.

Former title-winning Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is atop the Suns’ list of candidates, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Vogel’s successor will face championship-level expectations without the ability to dramatically upgrade the roster.

“We are here to win a championship and last season was way below our expectations,” general manager James Jones said in a statement.

“We will continue to evaluate our operation and make the necessary changes to reach our championship-calibre goals. We all take accountability, and it’s my job, along with [CEO Josh Bartelstein] and ownership, to build a championship team.”

The Suns implemented a win-now strategy when, at the behest of new owner Matt Ishbia, they acquired Durant last February.

Phoenix doubled down on the all-or-nothing route by acquiring Beal in the offseason, putting the team over the second apron of the luxury tax and hindering their ability to improve the roster around Durant, Beal and Devin Booker.

The inflexibility left the Suns without a traditional point guard this season and unable to make an impactful trade deadline acquisition.

Despite having three All-Star scorers, the Suns ranked 10th in the NBA by scoring 116.2 points per game, not enough to overcome their mediocre defence.

Durant, 35, was the most productive and available of the Suns’ big three, playing 75 games and averaging 27.1 points on his typical efficient shooting.

Booker also scored 27.1 points per game and set a career-high in assists at 6.9 per contest, but he was limited to 68 games.

Beal failed to live up to his contract – which still has three years and $161million remaining – by averaging 18.2 points over 53 games.

Beyond the individual numbers, the Suns’ stars failed to create a team greater than the sum of its parts. Despite having plenty of firepower, Phoenix ranked 23rd this season by shooting 40.6 percent in clutch situations (last five minutes and the game within six points).

Vogel has a career 480-422 record (.532) with four teams. He won a championship in 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers, who are undergoing their own coaching search after firing Darvin Ham.

The NBA announced on Thursday that it has suspended Milwaukee Bucks guard Patrick Beverley four games without pay for throwing a ball at spectators multiple times in his team's 120-98 loss to the Indiana Pacers on May 2.

The incident occurred with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the defeat that knocked the Bucks out of the play-offs.

Beverley first tossed a ball into the stands hitting some fans who weren't paying attention.

The 11-year NBA veteran appeared to ask for the ball back and after a different fan threw it to him, Beverley fired it back at that same spectator.

The league also stated he was suspended for his interaction with a reporter.

During the Bukcs' media availability the day after Milwaukee's Game 6 loss, Beverley refused to answer questions from Malina Adams from ESPN because she didn't subscribe to his podcast.

Acquired by Milwaukee from the Philadelphia 76ers in February, Beverley averaged 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.73 steals in 26 regular-season games for the Bucks. He then started all six play-off games for Milwaukee, averaging 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steals.

The 35-year-old Beverley, who is known for being an elite defender but also has the reputation of being somewhat cantankerous, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 

The Charlotte Hornets announced Charles Lee as their new head coach Thursday, with the current Boston Celtics assistant tabbed to take over a team with the NBA's longest active streak of missing the playoffs.

ESPN reports that Lee, who previously served as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks during that team's NBA title run in 2020-21, has agreed to a four-year contract.

Lee will replace Steve Clifford, who stepped down at the end of this season but will remain with the Hornets in a front-office advisory role. Charlotte finished 21-61 in 2023-24, tied with the Portland Trail Blazers for the third-lowest win total in the league.

“The opportunity to be the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets is a dream come true,” Lee said in a statement.  “I want to thank (owner) Rick Schnall, (owner) Gabe Plotkin and (Vice President of Basketball Operations) Jeff Peterson for the trust they are placing in me to lead this team."

Lee has had a hand in a number of successful campaigns during his 10-year stint as an NBA assistant, a stretch that began with the Atlanta Hawks in 2014. The 39-year-old has been a part of nine post-season appearances and seven division title winners during that span, with three of those teams (the 2014–15 Hawks, 2018–19 Bucks and 2020–21 Bucks) advancing to the Eastern Conference finals. 

The former Bucknell University star has been on the staff of four of the last six teams that finished the regular season with the NBA's best record, including this past one when the Celtics compiled a 64-18 mark.

Lee also has familiarity with new Hornets vice president of basketball operations Jeff Peterson, as the two worked together in Atlanta during Lee's four seasons with the Hawks from 2014-18.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Lee as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” said Peterson. “His high character and his ability to connect with players while also instilling a culture of accountability will serve us well as we construct a competitive team built for long-term success. Charles possesses a championship pedigree with a wide range of basketball knowledge and NBA experience, has a tremendous work ethic and is a great communicator. He shares our vision for this organisation, and I look forward to partnering with him in building something special here in the Carolinas."

Lee left the Hawks in 2018 to begin a five-year stint with the Bucks under Mike Budenholzer and was promoted to associate head coach in 2022. He was hired as the Celtics' top assistant under Joe Mazzulla in June.

The Maryland native now joins a franchise that has missed the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, three more than the teams that currently hold the second-longest drought (Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs).

Charlotte's future does offer some promise, however. In 2023 No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller, 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball and center Mark Williams, the Hornets have three potential building blocks that are all 22 years old or younger.

Ball has played in only 58 of a possible 164 games over the past two seasons due to ankle injuries, however, and Williams was limited to just 19 games this season by a back issue. 

"The Hornets have a talented young core of players, and I’m excited about our future and what we can build here," Lee said. "There are few places as passionate about basketball as the Carolinas, and I look forward to coming to Charlotte and getting to work.”

 

 

 

Jamaican basketball fans around the world will now have access to a shoe that represents them to the fullest thanks to NBA Hall of Famer, Patrick Ewing.

The Kingston-born Ewing, through his Ewing Athletics brand, oversaw the creation of the Ewing Rogue “Jamrock.”

Ewing Athletics is an American basketball shoe brand founded by Ewing and his former agent, David Falk.

This shoe draws inspiration from the flag of Jamaica, featuring a black and green leather upper and yellow leather straps to represent the saltire (diagonal cross) on the flag.

A description on the brand’s website explained the inspiration behind the shoe.

“Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, Pat has never shied away from representing his homeland. While we're no strangers to telling the story of his heritage through sneakers, we felt it was time for a refresh. After all, Pat did put the Jam in Jamrock.”

Ewing, who was born in Kingston a day before Jamaica gained independence, moved to the US in 1975.

After shining in High School, he had a decorated career at Georgetown University before being the first overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.

Ewing then had a seventeen-year NBA career, predominantly playing for the New York Knicks, where he was an eleven-time all-star and named to seven All-NBA teams. The Knicks appeared in the NBA Finals twice (1994 and 1999) during his tenure. He won Olympic gold medals as a member of the 1984 and 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball teams. 

Ewing was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 and as one of the 75 Greatest Players in NBA History in 2021.

He is a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts (in 2008 for his individual career and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 Olympic team). Additionally, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as a member of the "Dream Team" in 2009. His number 33 was retired by the Knicks in 2003.

The Ewing Rogue “Jamrock” is now available on ewingathletics.com.

 

Jalen Brunson was hailed "a warrior" by team-mate Donte DiVincenzo after his return from injury inspired the New York Knicks to a second-half turnaround against the Indiana Pacers.

The Knicks ran out 130-121 winners in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-final series.

Things did not look good for the hosts, who also lost OG Anunoby in the third quarter to a hamstring injury, as Brunson was forced to exit during the first quarter with a foot problem.

However, with the Knicks trailing 73-63 at half-time, the point guard received a raucous ovation from the home supporters as he returned to warm up in a bid to shake off his injury.

"He's a warrior," said DiVincenzo, who finished with 28 points. "There was no doubt in my mind he'd be back."

"He's a great leader, and the players all have respect for that when a guy tries to give whatever he has. It says a lot about him," coach Tom Thibodeau added.

"To me, the actions say a lot more than the words. It says that you care a lot about your team and your team-mates."

Brunson's return certainly inspired New York, who were already without Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic due to season-ending injuries.

He notched up 24 of his 29 points during the second half as the Knicks moved halfway towards reaching their first Eastern Conference final since 2000.

"It was really cool," Brunson said of his half-time reception. "But I just knew I had to get my mind in the right place to figure out how I was going to attack in the second half."

Jalen Brunson shook off a right foot injury to score 24 of his 29 points in the second half, and the New York Knicks withstood an injury to OG Anunoby for a 130-121 win over the Indiana Pacers to take a 2-0 lead on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Brunson was forced to exit in the first quarter with the injury but returned to warm up at halftime, sending the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy.

He fell short of becoming the second player in NBA history to score 40 or more points in five straight playoff games, but still provided the spark to move the Knicks halfway to their first East finals appearance since 2000.

The series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Friday.

Anunoby scored a career playoff-high 28 points before leaving in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. New York is already playing without three key players (Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic) due to season-ending injuries.

Donte DiVincenzo also scored 28 points with six 3-pointers, Josh Hart had 19 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists and Isaiah Hartenstein added 14 points, 12 boards and eight assists for the Knicks, who hit nearly half of their 3-point attempts (14 for 30).

Tyrese Haliburton bounced back from a poor Game 1 with 34 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Pacers, who hurt themselves by shooting 10 for 17 from the free throw line.

Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic has added to his legacy by winning a third NBA MVP Award.

The NBA announced the Serbian superstar beat out the Oklahoma City Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic for the Michael Jordan trophy on Thursday.

Jokic won back-to-back awards in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and with this year's trophy, he becomes the ninth player to win three or more MVPs, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Jordan and Bill Russell (five), Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James (four), and Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (three).

Jokic won the 2023-24 award in a runaway, capturing 79 first-place votes. Gilgeous-Alexander received 15 first-place votes, Doncic had four and the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo had one.

 Jokic led the Nuggets to the franchise's first NBA title last season and the second seed in the Western Conference play-offs in 2023-24 after averaging 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists.

He was the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and assists, and his 25 triple-doubles were one fewer than the Sacramento Kings' Domantas Sabonis for the most in the league.

Luka Doncic acknowledged "I've got to be better" after the Dallas Mavericks were beaten by Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-final series.

The Thunder, who swept the New Orleans Pelicans aside in their first-round series, built on that momentum with a 117-95 victory at Paycom Center.

Although, it was a day to forget for Doncic, who registered just 19 points on six-of-19 shooting as he ended a streak of 24 successive playoff games with at least 20 points, while he also had five turnovers.

Struggling with a knee injury and tightly marked by Oklahoma's Lu Dort, the five-time NBA All-Star was also just one-for-eight from three-point range, making it five-of-35 over the past four games.

That is the worst percentage (14.3 per cent) for any player with at least 30 attempts over a four-game streak during the postseason.

"[We've] just got to move onto the next one," Doncic said. "I've got to be better, we've got to be better. We've got to focus. They're a great team, a great defensive team, so it's not going to be easy at all."

"We have to put a complete game together against this young OKC team because they have an endless amount of energy," added Kyle Irving, who finished with 20 points. "They're never going to stop attacking."

The youngest team in NBA history to win a playoff series following their triumph over the Pelicans, Oklahoma made it five straight wins in the postseason with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 29 points along the way.

The Thunder have only conceded 90.6 points per game in the playoffs, the fewest by any team across five games in the postseason since the San Antonio Spurs in 2016.

"[The defence is] where we hang our hat every night," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "Especially this late in the season, we know that if we want to win basketball games, that it's going to start on that end.

"Obviously, we have some really talented players at that end of the floor, but we also like to do it together and not just rely on those guys."

Luka Doncic acknowledged "I've got to be better" after the Dallas Mavericks were beaten by Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-final series.

The Thunder, who swept the New Orleans Pelicans aside in their first-round series, built on that momentum with a 117-95 victory at Paycom Center.

Although, it was a day to forget for Doncic, who registered just 19 points on six-of-19 shooting as he ended a streak of 24 successive playoff games with at least 20 points, while he also had five turnovers.

Struggling with a knee injury and tightly marked by Oklahoma's Lu Dort, the five-time NBA All-Star was also just one-for-eight from three-point range, making it five-of-35 over the past four games.

That is the worst percentage (14.3 per cent) for any player with at least 30 attempts over a four-game streak during the postseason.

"[We've] just got to move onto the next one," Doncic said. "I've got to be better, we've got to be better. We've got to focus. They're a great team, a great defensive team, so it's not going to be easy at all."

"We have to put a complete game together against this young OKC team because they have an endless amount of energy," added Kyle Irving, who finished with 20 points. "They're never going to stop attacking."

The youngest team in NBA history to win a playoff series following their triumph over the Pelicans, Oklahoma made it five straight wins in the postseason with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 29 points along the way.

The Thunder have only conceded 90.6 points per game in the playoffs, the fewest by any team across five games in the postseason since the San Antonio Spurs in 2016.

"[The defence is] where we hang our hat every night," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "Especially this late in the season, we know that if we want to win basketball games, that it's going to start on that end.

"Obviously, we have some really talented players at that end of the floor, but we also like to do it together and not just rely on those guys."

Luka Doncic acknowledged "I've got to be better" after the Dallas Mavericks were beaten by Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-final series.

The Thunder, who swept the New Orleans Pelicans aside in their first-round series, built on that momentum with a 117-95 victory at Paycom Center.

Although, it was a day to forget for Doncic, who registered just 19 points on six-of-19 shooting as he ended a streak of 24 successive playoff games with at least 20 points, while he also had five turnovers.

Struggling with a knee injury and tightly marked by Oklahoma's Lu Dort, the five-time NBA All-Star was also just one-for-eight from three-point range, making it five-of-35 over the past four games.

That is the worst percentage (14.3 per cent) for any player with at least 30 attempts over a four-game streak during the postseason.

"[We've] just got to move onto the next one," Doncic said. "I've got to be better, we've got to be better. We've got to focus. They're a great team, a great defensive team, so it's not going to be easy at all."

"We have to put a complete game together against this young OKC team because they have an endless amount of energy," added Kyle Irving, who finished with 20 points. "They're never going to stop attacking."

The youngest team in NBA history to win a playoff series following their triumph over the Pelicans, Oklahoma made it five straight wins in the postseason with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 29 points along the way.

The Thunder have only conceded 90.6 points per game in the playoffs, the fewest by any team across five games in the postseason since the San Antonio Spurs in 2016.

"[The defence is] where we hang our hat every night," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "Especially this late in the season, we know that if we want to win basketball games, that it's going to start on that end.

"Obviously, we have some really talented players at that end of the floor, but we also like to do it together and not just rely on those guys."

 

In an exciting development for Jamaican basketball, rising star Marcus McDonald has been handpicked to showcase his skills at the prestigious Basketball Without Borders Americas Camp. The event, jointly organized by the NBA and FIBA, will take place in São Paulo, Brazil, from May 17 to 20, 2024.

McDonald, known for his exceptional talents on the court as a key member of Jamaica's Under 17 national team, stood out among his peers in the selection process. The camp, which focuses on developing top-tier players from across the Americas, promises an unparalleled opportunity for McDonald to refine his game alongside renowned coaches and NBA/FIBA players.

Jamaica Basketball Association President Paulton Gordon expressed delight at Marcus' selection, highlighting the significance of this achievement for the nation's basketball development.

"JABA is excited that the emerging young players are being recognized for their dedication and development trajectory," remarked Gordon. "This Elite NBA camp will certainly assist in the honing of skills and preparation for transition to the senior level."

The announcement of Marcus' invitation to Basketball Without Borders Americas follows closely on the heels of another promising player, Antoine Daye from Calabar, who unfortunately had to decline due to scheduling conflicts with his Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams.

For McDonald, this invitation marks a pivotal moment in his basketball journey, offering him the chance to learn from the best and gain invaluable experience that could shape his future in the sport.

Jaylen Brown hailed the growth of "aggressive" Derrick White, who continued his impressive postseason form in the Boston Celtics' victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The pair scored a combined 57 points as the Celtics prevailed 120-95 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series at TD Garden.

White notched up seven three-pointers - going four-for-six in the third quarter - as he became only the fifth player in NBA history to make 20 or more over a three-game span in the postseason, after Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jamal Murray and Damian Lillard.

And Brown, who was 12-for-18 shooting to go with six rebounds, two assists and just one turnover, paid tribute to his team-mate as the Celtics improved to 5-1 in the playoffs.

"Derrick has grown," Brown said. "He's a new version that we haven't seen before.

"He's put the work in, his body has developed a little bit, he's got some more playoff experience. He's being aggressive, and we urge him to do that more and more down the line."

Asked if he felt like he was in a rhythm, White said: "I'd say so. It feels good. I just want to help us win."

Meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell's haul of 33 points and six assists proved academic for the Cavaliers, who suffered their fourth successive road defeat in the postseason.

J.B. Bickerstaff, whose side came through an epic seven-game series against Orlando Magic in the opening round on Sunday, saluted the efforts of his players.

"There's a lot of areas we can improve on," he said. "I thought the guys came out with the right intent and the right effort. Facing a team like Boston, I think it's good to be able to play them.

"You're not used to the speed, the spacing, the shooting and all those things until you get up against them - especially coming from a series we just came from that was more of a half-court slugfest, where they play with more tempo and more space. We'll learn from it, and we'll be better."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder kept Luka Dončić in check to pull away for a 117-95 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday.

Chet Holmgren had 19 points and seven rebounds and Jalen Williams scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder remained unbeaten in the playoffs.

Game 2 is Thursday night in Oklahoma City.

Doncic entered this series averaging just under 30 points per game in these playoffs but was limited to 19 on 6-of-19 shooting, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range, and had five turnovers.

Kyrie Irving led Dallas with 20 points and Daniel Gafford had 16, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

The Thunder held just a 69-67 lead midway through the third quarter before a 20-7 run increased the advantage to 89-74.

Dallas got the deficit down to 96-87 on Irving’s 3 with 8:31 remaining, but Williams hit consecutive 3s and then dunked to make it 104-87.

 

Celtics handle Cavs in Game 1

Jaylen Brown scored 32 points and Derrick White added 25 with seven 3-pointers to lead the Boston Celtics to a 120-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the opener of their Eastern Conference second-round series.

Jayson Tatum had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Payton Pritchard scored 16 for the Celtics, who improved to 5-1 in this postseason and will host Game 2 on Thursday night.

Donovan Mitchell had 33 points and six assists and Evan Mobley added 17 and 13 rebounds as Cleveland lost for the fourth time in as many road playoff games.

Boston shot 18 of 46 from 3-point range and took a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Celtics started the final quarter with a 10-2 run to essentially put the game out of reach.

Both teams played without their starting centres. Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game with a bruised rib and Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis was sidelined for the second consecutive game with a strained right calf.

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