Mitchell's 29 points help Cavaliers blow out Celtics 118-94, tie series at 1 game apiece

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots as Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) defends during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 9, 2024, in Boston.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots as Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) defends during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 9, 2024, in Boston.Steven Senne

BOSTON — Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points, Evan Mobley had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the top-seeded Boston Celtics 118-94 on Thursday night to tie their second-round playoff series at one game apiece.

Two nights after losing by 25, with Mitchell scoring 33 but getting little help, the Cavaliers seized the lead in the third quarter and answered with a blowout of their own. Mitchell scored 16 in the third, hitting three straight baskets early in the fourth, including a 28-foot, banked 3-pointer that left him shrugging his shoulders as he backpedaled back down on defense.

Jayson Tatum scored 25 for Boston, and Jaylen Brown added 19 points. But Derrick White, whose 25 points in Game 1 helped the Celtics coast to a 120-95 win, managed just 10 points, missing seven of his eight 3-point tries.

The series moves to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday, with a return trip to Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Caris LeVert scored 21 off the bench for Cleveland, hitting a pull-up jumper midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Cavaliers a 20-point lead and started a parade of fans to the exits. Many of those who stayed began booing.

A minute later, after the Celtics missed another 3-pointer – they were 8 for 35 from long distance in all -- LeVert made a layup and drew a flagrant foul from Tatum. It was a 25-point game, and Boston coach Joe Mazzulla emptied his bench.

Cleveland's J.B. Bickerstaff followed soon after, getting some rest for Mitchell, who played a game-high 37 minutes on Tuesday night but was on the bench for the 10-2 Celtics run to start the fourth that blew open the game.

Mitchell hit four of his five 3-point attempts in the third quarter to help Cleveland extend its lead as large as 14 points.

Celtics 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 five straight games with bruised ribs, and reached a career playoff high in points.

Mobley scored 11 in the first quarter, when the Cavaliers quickly fell behind by nine – giving the vibes of a second straight blowout. But Cleveland ran off 11 points in a row – eight from LeVert. Boston went ahead by eight in the second before the Cavs sent it into halftime tied.

Tatum had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists at the half, and Mobley had 15, seven, and five. (AP)

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