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'Great' duo of Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert goes off in Cavs' wild comeback win

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Donovan Mitchell posterizes Luke Kornet (0:30)

Donovan Mitchell throws down a devastating jam over Luke Kornet with one hand. (0:30)

BOSTON -- After giving up 75 points to the Boston Celtics in the first half of Friday night's game -- the most the Celtics had scored in a first half in 15 years -- the Cleveland Cavaliers had a clear choice in front of them.

"Very easily, after the way we played in the first half," Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff said, "we could have sat down and got ready for [the New York Knicks] on Sunday."

The Cavaliers, though, didn't do that. Instead, they rode a pair of massive performances from their backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Caris LeVert -- each of whom poured in 41 points -- to pull off a comeback from trailing by 13 at the break to lead Cleveland to a 132-123 overtime victory over the Celtics in front of a sellout crowd at TD Garden.

Mitchell and LeVert became the second pair of Cavaliers to score at least 40 points in a game in franchise history. The others? LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, who did so in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, the first of three straight wins that led Cleveland to its lone NBA championship.

But while this game didn't have nearly the same significance, it was still a signature victory for a Cavaliers team that was missing All-Star guard Darius Garland, who remains out because of a laceration on his eyelid, and is still coming together after making the blockbuster deal to acquire Mitchell less than two months ago.

"I think we're farther than we expected," Mitchell said. "I'm not saying we're [perfect]. We have things we can work on ... certain things you look at like, 'OK, we've got work to do.' But then there's positives. We'll take this win, the way we competed, got stops, got to the paint, but there's always ways to improve."

After a rough opening four games for LeVert, who came into the night shooting just 3-for-24 on 2-point shots so far this season, there was certainly plenty of room to improve heading into the matchup with the Celtics. But it would've been impossible to know he'd been struggling based off how he played in this one, as he and Mitchell went shot for shot with Boston's dynamic wing tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who each scored 32 points.

It was LeVert, though, and not any of the three All-Star perimeter players involved, who slammed the door on this one, scoring the final 11 points for the Cavaliers to close out overtime -- not to mention grabbing a critical steal off an errant Tatum pass with just over a minute to go that helped salt the game away for the Cavaliers.

Plays like that were what led to LeVert coming to the podium wearing a giant gold chain with an oversized Cavaliers logo on it, signifying his selection as the team's "Junk Yard Dog" of the game -- given to the player who does, as LeVert himself said, the dirty work throughout the night to help the team get a victory.

"My teammates and my coaching staff have unbelievable belief in me to just keep going," LeVert said, in explaining how he was able to shake off his slow start to the season with his huge performance Friday night. "Honestly, this is the best start I've got off to beyond the arc, from 3. It's been a little weird. ... I just try not to get too down on myself. I try to play the other parts of the game besides scoring. Defense, rebounding, everything, so I think that kind of keeps me in the game."

For Boston, it now marks a second straight loss after three straight wins to begin the season, and after the Celtics put up those 75 points in the first half -- the most since the 2007-08 Celtics, who went on to win the championship, scored 77 against the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 7, 2007.

Cleveland, however, managed to hold Boston to just 39 points in the second half and held Tatum to eight points in the second half and overtime after a 24-point explosion in the first 24 minutes.

"I mean, we got to tip our hat, they were making some tough shots in that fourth quarter and overtime, both of those guys," Tatum said. "Some that we can live with, some that we gave them multiple possessions with those offensive rebounds. Those are the ones that kind of really hurt you. But, those two guys, they had a great night. They played extremely well. They hit shots."

Brown, meanwhile, was asked about his tweets over the past 48 hours or so regarding Donda Academy, the school the artist formerly known as Kanye West opened earlier this year. Brown announced earlier this week that he would no longer be affiliated with Donda Sports, West's sports marketing platform.

He said that moving forward, he wants to make sure the kids going to the school are taken care of.

"In terms of Donda Sports and those kids, that's the emphasis I'm on right now," Brown said. "These kids have nothing to do with what's really going on. They don't deserve to abruptly have their season end, or abruptly have their school year cut or diminished because of the actions of others. So I've been trying to lean in to get resources together to make sure that doesn't happen. We live in a society where people see a headline and they feel like they know everything about a situation.

"I spent a lot of time with Donda, teaching, building relationships with those kids, those parents. The only thing they are guilty of is trying to get a unique opportunity to get ahead in life. It's a lot of great events, opportunities and resources that were designed into that curriculum. For me -- for you guys, maybe, it's an association affiliated to Kanye West, but to me, it's a school with kids, with parents, with teachers that have names and faces that I got to work with. So I look at that situation differently. I plan to use my platform to make sure those kids get what's promised to them.

"Yes, a lot is going on, but I think that's where the line is drawn. Education is key, and I think I've been about education my whole entire career. You can check my track record. I'm going to continue to fight for those kids and fight for kids in neighborhoods that necessarily don't have people fighting for them. In this case, it's a lot of opportunities and resources to a lot of kids, and it's so much to unpack. I could talk up here about what's being said and what's not being said, and I don't want to keep you guys here all night, but like I said before, these kids have nothing to do with what's going on.

"Everybody feels like they know everything about a situation, but I spent time there. A lot of great families, teachers, and that's what I see. So I'm going to try to make sure everything that's promised to them in the foreseeable future and anybody who wants to align, contact me."