East Notes: Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Heat, Cavs, Donovan Mitchell


Star wing Jayson Tatum and the Celtics did it again, beating the Heat in Miami on Sunday. Tatus scored 26 points and Boston withstood a late rally.Jayson Tatum

“Today was fun, we have a lot of history with this team. Last time we came here we smacked them, so we knew it would be a closer game,” Tatum told reporters of Boston’s 33-point win in Miami on Jan. 25. “They came to play and we enjoy being part of games like that. Everybody’s being competitive.”

  • The Celtics have won six of the last seven against the Heat. Boston’s lone loss? Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
  • Star wing Jaylen Brown got tangled up with Heat forward Duncan Robinson, shoving Robinson into the stands at one point. Robinson called it a dirty play. “There was no issue from me,” Brown said. “I think he knew exactly what he was trying to do, trying to get tangled up. (The official) called the foul but he was still trying to hang on.”


The Heat were already missing guard/forward Jimmy Butler, out after the death in the family for Sunday’s loss to Boston. Then they lost guard Terry Rozier and wing Josh Richardson to injuries.

Yet they battled back and made a game of it, before losing by a 110-106 count.

“I thought our group showed a tremendous amount of grit in that second half,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “There were a lot of things that weren’t necessarily going our way, including the injuries. To really fight and claw back and get this game on the ropes, it’s a credit to how hard guys were playing.”

  • Rozier was forced to exit after landing awkwardly on his right leg and Richardson suffered a shoulder injury. “I felt my shoulder pop out on the floor and then it popped back in laying on the ground, so thank goodness for that,” Richardson said. “I’ll know more (Monday).”


Make no mistake, the reason the Cavaliers are the NBA’s hottest team has plenty to do with sar guard Donovan Mitchell, who I contend is having the best year of his career.

Jason Lloyd and Lukas Weese of The Athletic shared similar sentiments.

“Cleveland is smoldering hot right now because Mitchell is playing exactly like the Cavs hoped he would when they gambled and acquired him prior to the start of last season,” Lloyd and Weese wrote. “Mitchell has played the best basketball of his career in a Cavs jersey and has elevated himself to an MVP level since the team lost Garland and Mobley to injuries in December.

“Mitchell is averaging 28.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists over this 18-game stretch while shooting better than 37 percent from 3. He’s also getting plenty of help. Since Jan. 3, when this streak began, the Cavs are making more than 15 3s a night (second in the league behind Boston), their plus-17 net rating easily leads the league (the Knicks are second at 11.1) and they’re second in fast-break points.”

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