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Celtics beat Cavs to win playoff series opener | National

Jaylen Brown and Derrick White combined to score 57 points as the Boston Celtics posted a dominant 120-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven NBA playoff series.

The No. 1 seeds, chasing a record-breaking 18th NBA championship, were always in control against their fourth-seeded Eastern Conference rivals, holding a double-digit lead through the second half to finish off an emphatic win at the TD Garden to close.

Brown led the scoring for Boston with 32 points, six rebounds and two assists, while the in-form White turned heads with a 25-point blast, including seven three-pointers.

Jayson Tatum added 18 points but had off-night shooting, making just 7 of 19 from the field.

Donovan Mitchell led the scoring for Cleveland with 33 points, Evan Mobley added 17 and Darius Garland 14.

Brown said the Celtics’ defense laid the foundation for the win.

“It starts with the defense, we wanted to set the tone for the defense and we kept them under 100 (points),” Brown told TNT Television.

“But we feel like we have an answer for everything, so we just play the game the right way, see what they want to take away and then we play from there.


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“You just want to convert the defense and we have some great three-point shooters; that’s kind of my job. I take it upon myself to get to the paint and that opens the door for our shooters.”

Asked about White’s performance, Brown added, “If you don’t know Derrick White, you better get to know him. He’s on a roll and he’s just getting started.”

Boston got off to a hot start, jumping out to an early 12-2 lead in the first quarter before rallying to a 23-21 lead on Mitchell’s running three-pointer in Cleveland.

But Boston responded quickly, regaining the lead immediately and never letting Cleveland get in front again.

After taking a 10-point lead into halftime, Boston kept the pressure on in the second half, expanding to a 26-point lead in the fourth quarter as they romped to a comfortable victory.

Game two in the series takes place Thursday in Boston.

rcw/des