BOSTON — The Boston Celtics’ opponent on Tuesday event spent the first 36 minutes looking nothing like a team that was on the second game of a back-to-back, keeping up with NBA’s best home team shot-for-shot. Then the Celtics found their defense just in time before riding their own hot hands from beyond the arc to close out another victory.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, including six during a decisive 9-0 run late in the fourth quarter to lead the Celtics to a 120-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers inside TD Garden on Tuesday evening. Jayson Tatum anbd Jaylen Brown each had 25 points to pace Boston, who shot a perfect 26-for-26 from the free throw line in a game that saw the lead see-saw during a flurry of spectacular shot-making by both teams during the third quarter.
The Celtics remain the NBA’s lone unbeaten team at home, moving to 11-0 inside TD Garden and moving to within one victory of tying Boston’s last championship team, the 2007-08 squad, and the 1984-85 team for the second-longest home winning streak to start a season.
Despite playing in Florida less than 24 hours ago and going down in defeat to the Orlando Magic, the Cavaliers opened up a 15-point lead, 25-10, in the game’s first seven minutes, with Donovan Mitchell scoring 11 of his game-high 29 points during that opening run.
After the first quarter, the Celtics outscored 99-82 in the final three stanzas, and withstood both Mitchell and Darius Garland heating up from the outside — the pair scored a combined 25 points, with Mitchell at one point scoring 11 consecutive points for the Cavaliers — to match Cleveland throughout the frame. Boston made 13 of its 23 shots from the field in the third, with Porzingis taking advantage of mismatches inside and hooting over smaller defenders behind the arc in his way to 13 points in the quarter.
Porzingis did all of his damage in the fourth quarter from the free throw line, making all six of his tries from the charity stripe. The first four free throws broke a 106-all tie, and Tatum soon followed with a three-pointer to give Boston a 113-106 lead. Boston’s lead did not drop below seven for the rest of the game.
Boston held Mitchell and Garland to a combined 2-of-8 shooting in the fourth, and the Celtics made all eight of their free throws in the quarter to make up for their 39 percent shooting from the field in the frame. /span>
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday evening’s event, with all photos taken by Boston-area photographer Erica Denhoff. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 24 pictures in total.