Following a devastating injury to star forward Gordon Hayward after only five minutes of action, the Boston Celtics quickly fell behind and found themselves in a 17-point deficit during halftime.
Head coach Brad Stevens seemingly delivered a spectacular halftime speech to regroup his players as that gap quickly diminished and Boston managed to outscore Cleveland 33-18 in the third quarter.
The Celtics headed into the fourth trailing by one point, but ultimately were unable to continue their run late and ended up losing by three.
LeBron James shined by leading all scorers with 29 points, and also added 16 rebounds and nine dimes.
In his return to Quicken Loans arena, Kyrie Irving netted 10 assists to compliment 22 points for a double-double in his opening game on a new team.
Sophomore Jaylen Brown led the way for Boston by contributing 25 points and was one of four players to reach double digits, joined by Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, and Marcus Smart.
19-year-old Jayson Tatum started in his first career NBA game where he also recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Besides the obvious loss of Gordon Hayward, forward Marcus Morris was also absent with a sore right knee that will keep him sidelined for at least 10 days before reevaluation. Both losses were felt on each end of the floor, as the Celtics missed both scoring opportunities and the presence in the paint that has proven to be dire for success.
The valiant attempt at a comeback fell just short along with Kyrie Irving’s game-tying buzzer beater.
Boston will be right back at it on October 18 for their home opener when they face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.