Celtics-Cavs takeaways: White stays scorching from 3 in Game 1 win

Celtics-Cavs takeaways: White stays scorching from 3 in Game 1 win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics started their second-round series vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers the same way they finished off Miami -- with a resounding victory at TD Garden.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals resembled much of the first round, with the Celtics leading nearly the entire night. Boston got off to a 12-2 start, Cleveland responded with a 21-9 run, and that was the last time the C's would trail. They pulled back ahead with 40 points in the opening frame and went on to earn a 120-95 win in front of their home crowd. It's their 19th win of 25 or more points this season, the most in NBA history.

Jaylen Brown and Derrick White were the stars for Boston with 32 and 25 points, respectively. Jayson Tatum added 18 points and Payton Pritchard contributed 16 off the bench.

For the Cavs, Donovan Mitchell led the charge in a losing effort with 33 points.

Game 2 at TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. Coverage begins with Celtics Pregame Live at 6 p.m. right here on NBC Sports Boston.

Before we look ahead to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Game 1.

Derrick White still on fire from 3

The Celtics weren't themselves from beyond the arc in this game, particularly early on. They shot just 4-of-18 from deep in the first half compared to Cleveland's 6-for-12. They improved on those numbers in the final two frames, finishing 18-of-46 (39.1 percent), but there's no doubt they'd like to be more consistent from 3 going forward in the series.

Thankfully for Boston, Derrick White was there to pick up the slack. The C's guard has been on a tear from 3-point range throughout the playoffs and that red-hot stretch continued in Tuesday's matchup.

White accounted for almost half of the Celtics' total made 3s with seven on 12 attempts. He was met with loud "Derrick White" chants from the Garden crowd throughout the third quarter.

White, who finished with 25 points, is now 28-for-55 (50.9 percent) from 3-point range in the 2024 playoffs. Twenty of his 3s have come over the last three games. According to Celtics stats guru Dick Lipe, the only other players in NBA playoff history with 20-plus 3s in a three-game span are Stephen Curry (three times), Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, and Jamal Murray.

White also put himself in the record books by making the most 3-point shots over six-game span (28) in Celtics playoff history, topping Ray Allen.

White made up for Boston's lackluster 3-point shooting night, but Cleveland was worse. After making six first-quarter 3s, the Cavs were 5-for-30 from deep over the final three frames.

Jaylen Brown sets the tone

Brown made it clear he's putting his friendship with Cavs star Donovan Mitchell on pause for this series. He greeted his close friend on the court with an aggressive, dominant first quarter of Game 1.

The three-time All-Star tallied the Celtics' first seven points and finished the frame with 15. A notoriously strong starter, Brown has now scored in double figures in the opening quarter 19 times in his postseason career.

Brown did much of his damage early on by drawing fouls and getting to the line. He also started 5-for-6 from the field with his only miss of the first quarter coming on a halfcourt heave.

He finished the first half with a team-high 20 points to outduel Mitchell, who had 17.

Brown kept his foot on the gas throughout the second half, finishing the game with a team-leading 32 points on an efficient 12-of-18 shooting. He was the only other Celtic to find success from 3, finishing 4-of-6 from long range.

Big minutes from Luke Kornet

Boston's big men stepped up in Game 5 vs. Miami with Kristaps Porzingis out and they picked up where they left off in Game 1 against Cleveland.

Luke Kornet, the first big off the Celtics' bench, was outstanding in his 21 minutes of action. He gave the Celtics a much-needed presence in the paint, making an instant impact with two blocks in the opening frame. While Boston's defense struggled to find its footing early, Kornet was a bright spot.

Kornet ended up with 10 rebounds (six offensive) to go with his two blocks. The Garden crowd recognized his efforts with loud "Luke" chants each time he was subbed in and out.

Boston went with the double big approach early and often against Cleveland. Al Horford, of course, played a key role as Porzingis' replacement in the starting lineup. He tallied seven points (3-7 FG) and eight boards in 27 minutes.

Reserve centers Xavier Tillman and Neemias Queta saw seven and three minutes of playing time, respectively. Tillman had two points and three rebounds while Queta contributed two points and two boards.