Gordon Hayward highlighted his career high-tying 39-point performance by making all nine shots he attempted in the first half as the visiting Boston Celtics recorded a 119-113 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Hayward finished 17 of 20 from the field and added eight assists and seven rebounds to propel the Celtics to their fifth straight win.
Kemba Walker went 6 of 8 from 3-point range to highlight his 25-point outing as Boston posted its fifth consecutive victory against Cleveland for the first time since a 13-game winning streak spanning the 2000-04 seasons.
Collin Sexton scored 21 points, Tristan Thompson added 19 and 13 rebounds and Kevin Love contributed 17 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have lost three in a row.
Hayward was hot right out of the blocks, sinking all seven shots he attempted during his 16-point first quarter to stake Boston to a 32-24 lead. The Celtics shot a blistering 64.0 percent from the field in the quarter, due in large part to outscoring Cleveland by a 20-8 margin in the paint.
Boston pushed the advantage to 11 on a couple of occasions in the second quarter before Sexton sank a pair of free throws, a 3-pointer and a pullup jumper to key a Cleveland surge that trimmed the deficit to 52-50 with 1:47 left in the second half.
The Celtics countered with a 9-2 run to end the half, with Hayward’s pullup jumper making him a perfect 9-for-9 from the floor. Hayward’s 22 points at the half were a career high, eclipsing the 21 he recorded in a 36-point game at Charlotte on Jan. 18, 2016.
Hayward was undaunted after missing his first shot on a 3-point attempt early in the third quarter. He continued his sterling performance by converting an alley-oop layup from Walker before banking home a short jumper to give Boston a 69-59 lead.
Carsen Edwards bookended 3-pointers to highlight a 10-2 surge early in the fourth and Hayward and Walker connected from beyond the arc on consecutive possessions to send the Celtics to a 113-101 advantage with 4:35 to play.
Thompson’s layup and putback brought the Cavaliers within 113-110 with 2:10 remaining and Sexton answered Walker’s 3-pointer with one of his own with 1:33 to play. Hayward cleaned up a rebound of Walker’s 3-point attempt to effectively put the game away.
—Field Level Media