Jayson Tatum overcame a slow start to score 41 points as the Boston Celtics beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 117-113 on Wednesday.
Tatum had two points after the first quarter, but heated up for 15 in the second and 18 in the third. He began the night averaging 30.1 points per game. He added 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Boston survived a 44-point performance by Cleveland's Donovan Mitchell, who scored 29 points in the second half.
The Cavaliers were outscored 41-26 in the third quarter and trailed 96-78 entering the fourth, but Darius Garland (29 points) made back-to-back 3-pointers that pulled the Cavaliers within five points with 27.5 seconds to play. He hit another trey to cut the deficit to four points with 12.3 seconds on the clock, but that basket capped the scoring.
Al Horford added 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics. Horford made 8 of 10 field goal attempts, including 6 of 8 3-point attempts.
The Celtics used a 7-0 spurt at the start of the third quarter to take a 62-52 lead. It was the first time either team led by double figures.
Boston's advantage peaked at 21 points, 89-68, following a layup by Robert Williams III with 2:32 remaining in the third. The Celtics outrebounded the Cavaliers 14-4 in the quarter.
Cleveland led 28-26 after the first quarter, but Boston had a 55-52 lead at halftime. There were 10 lead changes and seven ties in the first half.
Jaylen Brown returned to the Celtics lineup after missing Monday's 109-94 road loss to the New York Knicks for personal reasons. Brown scored 16 points in 37 minutes.
Cleveland won the two other games between the teams this season. The Cavaliers prevailed 132-123 in Boston on Oct. 28, and 114-113 in Cleveland on Nov. 2. Both games went to overtime.
--Field Level Media