By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics remain undefeated at the TD Garden this postseason, and now own a 2-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics beat the Cavaliers 107-94 in Game 2, surviving a 42-point night from LeBron James. Jaylen Brown led the way for Boston with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Terry Rozier erupting in the second half and finished with 18 points.
The Celtics trailed by seven, 55-48, after a sluggish start in the first half, but came out of the locker room on fire. They outscored Cleveland 36-22 in the frame and closed the quarter on a 23-11 run. Terry Rozier led the way with 14 points in the quarter, and he provided two of the loudest points of the game with a monstrous jam that gave Boston a 74-71 lead. Not even James could chase down Rozier on the play:
While nearly everything went Boston’s way in the second half thanks to their hustle and grit, Cleveland struggled mightily, scoring just 39 points in the final 24 minutes. Not even a James triple-double (with 12 assists and 10 rebounds to go with his fifth 40-plus point game of the postseason) could save the Cavaliers from the Celtics on Tuesday. This is the first 2-0 hole for a LeBron James-led team since his Cavaliers trailed the Celtics 2-0 in the second round back in 2008.
As a franchise, the Celtics are 37-0 when taking a 2-0 lead in a series.
Marcus Morris continued to be a great source of energy for the Celtics, who had 12 points and rebounds. He tied the game with 5:14 left in the third quarter with a three-point play, and let Tristan Thompson know just how fired up he was after hitting the floor:
Boston’s other Marcus — Marcus Smart — was also a huge part of Boston’s victory. He made several hustle plays throughout the game, living up to his reputation as a player who has never quit on a single play. He cleaned up a pair of Boston misses on one possession, tipping an offensive rebound back to Jayson Tatum and then putting back his miss, to give the C’s a 93-82 lead with 6:10 left in the fourth.
Smart also went after J.R. Smith late in the fourth after the Cavs guard pushed Al Horford from behind on a drive to the basket. It was a dirty play by Smith, who was somehow only assessed a Flagrant 1. He and Smart both got hit with a technical for their beef after the play.
Smart finished with 11 points and nine assists off the bench. Horford scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and also pulled down 10 rebounds.
The two teams will now get some much-needed rest after their Game 2 battle, with Game 3 set for Saturday night in Cleveland.