In the heyday of the New Big Three, when the Boston Celtics were winning the 2008 NBA title and going back to the finals two years later, there arose in the TD Garden a new tradition: Gino Time.
When the Celtics were winning and the game was in hand by the final TV timeout, the arena would play a disco-era video of a shaggy man in a tight T-shirt that said “Gino.” Players on the bench and fans in the stands would swivel their hips along with him to celebrate as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
There hadn’t been much Gino Time in Boston this season, now that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are in Brooklyn and Doc Rivers is in Los Angeles.
Until the Cleveland Cavaliers came to town.
“Nobody’s told me about that,” first-year coach Brad Stevens said after the Celtics scored 18 of the game’s first 20 points and coasted to a 103-86 victory over Cleveland on Friday night. “Maybe they thought we wouldn’t have a game out of reach.”
Jeff Green scored 31 points, the most by a Boston player this season, and Jordan Crawford had his third career triple-double to lead the Celtics to their third victory in four games. It was their biggest margin of victory of the season, and the first time they have won at home with such a comfortable margin that the fans could frolic with “Gino.”
“They don’t know about Gino,” injured point guard Rajon Rondo, the only holdover from the two-time Eastern Conference champions, said in the locker room after watching the game in street clothes as he recovers from reconstructive knee surgery. “We’ve got to get a couple more wins.”
Crawford had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Boston, which at 7-11 has the most wins in the Atlantic Division and is a half-game out of first place. Avery Bradley scored eight of his 21 points in the first quarter, when the Celtics jumped to an 18-2 lead.
Dion Waiters scored 21 points and Kyrie Irving had 17 for the Cavaliers, who lost their fifth straight game and fell to 1-9 on the road this season. Cleveland scored just 10 points in the first quarter, its worst output for any quarter this season, and lost for the eighth time in nine games.
“To me, it’s a work in progress. It’s going to be that way the entire year,” coach Mike Brown said. “But the one thing we can do is we can defend better, and we did not do a good job of that at all, especially in the first quarter.”
The Celtics scored 18 of the game’s first 20 points, upped the lead to 20 early in the second quarter and extended it to 25 in the third. Cleveland trailed by at least 10 points for all but the first 3:59 of the game.
“They threw the first punch tonight and I feel like we laid down.” Waiters said.