BOSTON — 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.
They maintained a double-digit edge for the rest of the game.
“We got great defensive stops to begin the game with. That’s how we got that lead,” Green said. “We are finally putting everything together. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the season … but it was good to put an all-around good game together.”
Crawford had four points, four rebounds and three assists after one quarter. He said he asked Stevens to stay in the game so he could complete the triple-double, reaching the milestone on a pair of free throws with 94 seconds to play.
“I’m whispering in his ear,” he said. “I appreciate it, though.”
Stevens said he was surprised to hear that Crawford had reached the milestone and called his performance “shockingly effective.”
“He had a triple-double? Crawford did? Holy smokes, I had no idea,” he told reporters afterward, looking at the stat sheet to confirm it. “He had 11 rebounds? Jordan Crawford had 11 rebounds? … It’s good that our guards rebound. Our guards need to rebound to win.”
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. … They controlled the whole game,” Waiters said. “We’ve got to be men. We’ve got to grow up. We can’t just turn it around and think it’s going to be easy. This is a man’s league, so at the end of the day we’ve got to bring it.”
Cleveland’s only sustained run came in the middle of the second quarter, when it went on a 16-6 run to cut a 20-point deficit to 10. Anthony Bennett hit a 3-pointer, Waiters also had one, and then Waiters added a three-point play to make it 45-35.
But the Celtics scored the next eight points, including a 3-pointer and layup by Green.
Notes: Waiters took a hard foul from Brandon Bass late in the third quarter. … Russian rookie Sergey Karasev made his first start of the season. It was the Cavs’ seventh different starting lineup. … Celtics G Courtney Lee missed the game with a sore left knee. … Bennett, the No. 1 overall draft pick, played 20 minutes and had four points, four rebounds and four fouls.