Celtics outlast Cavaliers 112-106
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton continues to have a breakout season. Nevertheless, he continues to have his fair share of critics.
Just perform a simple Twitter search of the polarizing second-year guard, and you’ll surely see negative comments. Sexton has even had teammates show visible frustration with his play on the court this season; but the young guard appears to be blossoming in his second season, averaging better than 20 points per game.
Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, Sexton produced his second-straight game with a career high in points, but it wasn’t enough as the Cavs fell to Boston 112-106 in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
“He’s got his own mind when it comes to that (criticism), and it’s at a place that I think is different from what I’ve seen other young players have,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said about Sexton. “His approach, his routine, the way he takes care of his body, the way he takes care of his game, that’s where he puts all of his focus into, and it’s almost a singular-minded type thing.
“I don’t have Twitter or Instagram or any of that, so I don’t know what people are saying. But I just get to watch him every day, and we’re lucky to be able to watch him every day and have a guy who you literally do not have to worry about him being ready. You just know that every single day, he’s going to be prepared for whatever you need him to do.”
In Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz, Sexton finished with a career-high 32 points. He followed that performance on Wednesday with a career-high 41 points to go along with six assists and three rebounds. His head coach believes he’s underappreciated.
“Just the idea of what he’s able to do every night, that’s hard,” Bickerstaff said. “People can say what they want to, but how many guys can go out and get 20 every single night in this league? There’s not many of them.
“There’s guys who show flashes of it. And in those same guys, how many of them are available for all 82? It’s different. What he’s doing isn’t common in the NBA by any means, and that should be respected. So, I don’t what all the negative reactions and all those things, I don’t see the purpose of them. And truthfully, who cares? He’s doing something special, and we should all be proud of him and pushing for him.”
The Celtics led by as many as 13 points in the game, but the contest was fairly close throughout. When Sexton sank a floater with 8:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, he tied the game at 86 apiece and eclipsed his previous career high. When he drained another floater with 2:59 to play, he had brought Cleveland within a point at 98-97. The Cavs, however, couldn’t regain the lead.
Sexton brought the Cavs within a 110-106 deficit with 13 seconds to play with another bucket, but that was the closest Cleveland came the rest of the way.
“For our younger guys, it’s all about growth and experience,” Bickerstaff said. “There’s a lot of stuff coming at you from some really good players, so you need to see that once or twice and then you gain the experience.”
Kevin Love finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Larry Nance Jr. totaled 19 points and 15 rebounds for Cleveland.
The Cavs, however, had trouble slowing down Celtics guard Jayson Tatum the entire evening. He finished with 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
“Being able to have that underdog mentality all the time, where you feel like your back’s against the wall and you have to scrap, you have to outwork your competitors, that’s the kind of attitude we want to embrace,” Bickerstaff said.
With his 16th field goal on Wednesday, Sexton (17-of-30 from the field) passed 1,000 for his career. And in the previous game against Utah, he became the youngest Cavs player to record 32-plus points, five-plus rebounds and three-plus steals in a game since Kyrie Irving accomplished the feat in 2013.
Sexton and the Cavs look to end their losing skid on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.
POSTED 03/04/2020 21:55