By STEVE HERRICK Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 32 points and the Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-106 on Wednesday night in a matchup of short-handed teams.

The Celtics were missing three starters — Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward — while the Cavaliers played without starters Andre Drumnond and rookie Darius Garland.
Cavaliers rookie swingman Kevin Porter Jr. left the game in the first half with a head injury and didn’t return.

Collin Sexton scored a career-high 41 points, making 17 of 29 shots from the field. His previous career high was 32 against Utah .

The Celtics bounced back from an overtime defeat to Brooklyn on Tuesday night in which they couldn’t hold a 21-point, second-half lead and lost in overtime.

Tatum who didn’t play in that game because of an illness, gave the Celtics a much-needed clutch performance. He was 11 of 24 from the field, hit five 3-pointers, and had nine rebounds and six assists.

Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye scored a career-high 22 points. His basket gave Boston a 90-89 lead with 6:24 to play. Ojeleye was helped to the locker room with a leg injury before halftime, but returned in the third.

Marcus Smart scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and made all eight of his free throw attempts.

Boston was up by 13 points in the second quarter and led 58-52 at halftime. The Cavaliers led several times in the second half before the Celtics, who are third in the Eastern Conference, took over late in the game.

Kevin Love had 26 points and 14 rebounds for Cleveland, and Larry Nance Jr. had 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Porter was listed in the starting lineup, but Matthew Dellevedova was on the floor for the opening tip. Porter, who apparently had an issue with his uniform, rushed to the scorer’s table as the game began and entered at the first stoppage.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Brown, who strained his right hamstring Tuesday, will miss a minimum of seven days. Walker scored 21 points Tuesday after missing five games with a knee injury. Stevens said Walker and Hayward, who has a bruised right knee, could play Friday against Utah.

Drummond (strained left calf) and Garland (strained left groin) have missed the last two games while Tristan Thompson (bruised left knee) has been out three in a row.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Smart played after confronting two officials on the court following Tuesday’s game. Stevens doesn’t know if Smart will be suspended by the NBA. “I don’t know what their procedure is,” he said. … Smart and Brad Wannamaker started in the backcourt while Robert Williams started at center.

Cavaliers: Nance started at center for the second straight game. … Cleveland, with the worst record in the conference, dressed 10 players.

UP NEXT

Celtics: host Utah on Friday. Tatum scored 33 points against the Jazz in a 114-103 win on Feb. 26.
Cavaliers: host Denver on Saturday. Cleveland defeated the Nuggets on the road 111-103 on Jan. 11.

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