Cleveland Cavaliers stun Boston Celtics with Caris LeVert overtime burst

basketball players compete for the ball during an NBA game

File pic. Cleveland Cavaliers center Lauri Markkanen (centre) shots over Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (right) during the first half of the NBA basketball play-in game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA, 12 April 2022. Picture: Peter Foley/EPA

Published Oct 29, 2022


Washington - Caris LeVert scored Cleveland's last 10 points in overtime and sparked the Cavaliers to a 132-123 NBA victory at Boston on Friday.

LeVert and Donovan Mitchell each scored a game-high 41 points as the Cavaliers improved to 4-1 while Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each had 32 to lead the Celtics.

"I knew it was coming," LeVert said of his big night. "I put in a lot of work. I was due for this. We're having so much fun out here. We can't wait to keep doing it."

It was only the second time the Cavs had two 40-point scorers in a game, the other time by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in game five of the 2016 NBA Finals, which Cleveland won in seven games.

Brown's overtime dunk lifted Boston level at 121-121, but LeVert answered with a 3-pointer and two free throws and, after Brown sank two free throws, LeVert added two free throws of his own and closed out matters on a 4-point play with 32.2 seconds to go, making a free throw after a flagrant foul by Malcolm Brogdon.

"He did it all. He literally carried us," Mitchell said. "He led us from the start. We fed off that."

After trailing by as many as 15 points, LeVert's 3-pointer put Cleveland ahead 113-112 in regulation. A Brown basket put Boston ahead 114-113 with 28 seconds remaining, only for Jarrett Allen to sink a free throw that led to overtime.

"For us to have the perseverance as a group... that was big time," said Mitchell. "For us to have a collective solidarity this early in the season as a group, that's going to take us far. Wins like this are huge."

LeVert said referee calls in the first half disrupted the Cavs' rhythm.

"We kind of let the refs get in our heads," LeVert said. "We stopped playing Cavs basketball. In the second half we were a lot more physical. We lived with some of the foul calls and we just fought."

He also credited pre-season workouts for the fitness to fight to the end.

"We did crazy conditioning this training camp and I think it really paid off tonight," LeVert said. "We were super energized."

The Milwaukee Bucks remained the NBA's only undefeated team, improving to 4-0 with a 119-108 home victory over the New York Knicks.

Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo had game highs of 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Bucks, who had seven scorers in double figures.

Lakers still winless

The winless Los Angeles Lakers fell to 0-5 to start the season with a 111-102 loss at Minnesota.

The Timberwolves were led by a game-high 29 points from Anthony Edwards plus 22 points and 21 rebounds by Rudy Gobert.

James had 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in a losing cause.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said his team's 22 turnovers, leading to 25 Minnesota points, were too much to overcome.

"For me, the most glaring stat is the turnovers," he said. "When you give them 22 turnovers, 25 points, it's very hard to win in this league. We have to do a better job of valuing possessions."

Tyrese Maxey scored a career-high 44 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 112-90 triumph at Toronto.

Maxey had two more points than the Raptors managed in the entire second half, propelling the Sixers to victory despite the absence of star center Joel Embiid because of a sore knee.

Atlanta's Trae Young scored 36 points and passed out 12 assists to spark the Hawks to a 136-112 victory at Detroit. Cade Cunningham scored a career-high 35 points in a losing cause.

Keldon Johnson's 33 points led San Antonio over visiting Chicago 129-124 despite 33 by the Bulls' DeMar DeRozan, who became the 50th NBA player to score 20,000 points in his career.

Myles Turner scored 27 points while Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton each added 25 to lead Indiana over host Washington 127-117 despite 31 points by Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

The Orlando Magic won for the first time in six games this season as 19-year-old Paolo Banchero, the top pick in this year's NBA Draft, had 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and reserve Mo Bamba added 19 points in a 113-93 home victory over Charlotte.