Celtics

Celtics

For most of his time as a Boston Celtic, Semi Ojeleye has often been lost in the shuffle. 

He has a role on the team and more times than not, that role is to be ready to play solid defense, rebound and keep the ball moving on offense. 

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But with so many key players out, Ojeleye made the most of his opportunity to step up and be a bigger contributor.

Ojeleye finished with a career-high 22 points, which included some timely baskets late in the fourth quarter, to help the Celtics end a two-game losing streak. 

But he also got it done defensively as well. 

Leading 100-97, Ojeleye switched out defensively on Collin Sexton and forced him to turn the ball over. 

Moments later, Ojeleye drained a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 103-97, which would be one of his many big plays.

TATUM RETURNS

After missing the game due to being under the weather, Tatum returned and delivered a strong, much-needed scoring presence most of the game. 

He would finish with 32 points, which for Tatum, isn’t all that special these days. It was the fifth consecutive game Tatum has tallied at least 32. Only Larry Bird (1985) and John Havlicek (1972) have done that with the Celtics. 

 

But what we saw was yet another stretch in which Tatum’s game continues to evolve. 

The Cavs did quite a bit of double-teaming and blitzing of Tatum when he had the ball, forcing him to pass to a teammate. 

It was a good strategy, but one that Tatum soon adjusted to and in doing so, continued to score at a good clip in addition to getting his teammates great looks at the rim. He also added nine rebounds and six assists. 

His ability to adapt to what teams attempt to do defensively against him will go far in Tatum’s continued dominance as a scorer. 

COLLIN SEXTON 

He will forever be linked with the Celtics, whose trade for Kyrie Irving in 2017 included them sending their unprotected pick that year from Brooklyn to Cleveland as part of the deal. 

That draft pick turned into Sexton, who has shown tremendous growth in his second NBA season. 

Sexton’s continued improvement will go far in Cleveland’s rebuilding efforts. It was on display Wednesday as he went off for a career-high 41 points to go with six assists. 

MARCUS SMART

The night did not get off to the best of starts for Smart, who struggled with his shot and wasn’t making as big an imprint defensively as we’re accustomed to seeing. 

But as the game got tighter, Smart made his presence felt more. 

He made timely shots from the field and the free-throw line and, unlike the past two games, made winning plays in the game’s latter stages. 

Smart finished the game with 18 points. 

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