Basketball

Celtics rout Cavs to avenge opening-day loss

Boston's defence restricts LeBron's side to a season-low points total

The Boston Celtics sent out a strong statement with a 102-88 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday morning (Singapore time) to avenge their season-opening 102-99 loss.

Celtics' Terry Rozier scored 20 points off the bench to lead six double-figure scorers as they routed LeBron James' side in an NBA Eastern Conference showdown.

Jayson Tatum and reserve Marcus Smart each scored 15 points, Jaylen Brown added 14 points and Kyrie Irving and Al Horford each contributed 11 and nine rebounds as the East-leading Celtics improved to 31-10, reported AFP.

"That shows what type of team we are," Rozier said of the Celtics' scoring depth.

"From day one, we've always had that next-man-up mentality and we've kept it going."

LeBron James led Cleveland with 19 points and added seven rebounds and six assists, but the Cavaliers (25-13) had a season-low points total.

"Listen, they played at a high level tonight, and they've been playing extremely well at home and on the road at times as well," James told ESPN. "They gave us a good one tonight."

"Their defence was very good. They were very in tune to what we wanted to do execution-wise offensively. They had a good defensive plan and they executed very well."

Cavaliers big man Kevin Love injured his right ankle. He had only two points on 1-of-11 shooting.

From day one, we’ve always had that next-manup mentality and we’ve kept it going. Boston Celtics’ Terry Rozier

Cleveland's Isaiah Thomas sat out a night after making his season debut, missing more than two months with a hip injury after being traded from the Celtics in the deal that sent Irving to Boston.

"I don't know who we are and who we can be until we get it back consistently," James said. "We haven't played well as of late so we are trying to figure that out as well. We will be fine, though."

Thomas exchanged hugs and smiles with his former teammates and when he was shown on the scoreboard videoscreen, Boston fans responded with a standing ovation.

They gave us a good one tonight. Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, after losing to the Celtics

"This is genuine love from both sides," Thomas said. "The fans are everything here. Boston is definitely in my heart and will always be some type of home for me."

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry scored 32 points, including the game-winning three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left, and reigning champion Golden State improved to an NBA-best 30-8 with a 125-122 win at Dallas.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson each added 25 points for the Warriors. Durant had 11 rebounds while Draymond Green contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Paul George and Terrance Ferguson each scored 24 points, Carmelo Anthony added 21 and Russell Westbrook had 20 points and 12 assists to spark Oklahoma City over the hosts Los Angeles Lakers 133-96.

The Houston Rockets, playing without guard James Harden due to a hamstring injury, had 27 points off the bench from Gerald Green and 21 more from Clint Capela in a 116-98 romp at Orlando.

OTHER RESULTS:

Orlando 98 Houston 116, Philadelphia 112 San Antonio 106, Washington 121 NY Knicks 103, Brooklyn 98 Minnesota 97, Miami 111 Detroit 104, Chicago 115 Toronto 124, Milwaukee 122 Indiana 101, Dallas 122 Golden State 125, Denver 134 Phoenix 111, Utah 98 New Orleans 108, LA Lakers 96 Oklahoma City 133

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