Thursday, January 12, 2023

Celtics 125, Pelicans 114: Jaylen Brown records season-high 41 points, extend home win-streak to six

The Celtics (30-12) notched their fourth straight victory Wednesday night beating a banged up Pelicans (25-17) team 125-114 at TD Garden.

New Orleans was missing its top two All-Stars in Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe). Boston was not without injuries of their own, however, as Marcus Smart missed his second straight game due to a left knee contusion and Robert Williams III was out due to left knee rehab management.

Jaylen Brown tallied a season-high 41 points and 12 rebounds on 15-of-21 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point territory. Early in the third quarter the Celtics had come out flat, allowing the Pelicans to cut the lead to just one, but Brown had other ideas, as he was the only Celtic who came out with great energy from the very beginning of the second half -- scoring 18 in the period -- which was enough to keep Boston's head above water before eventually pulling away come the fourth.
"I was trying to play at a nice pace and be aggressive, do what I do best," Brown said to reporters following the win on his mentality during the game. 
Jayson Tatum finished with 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting and 10 rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 20 points (7-of-11) off the bench and Al Horford netted 14 points on 4-of-6 from deep to help the Celtics maintain the league's best record and become the first team to reach 30 wins this season.

Pelicans shooting guard CJ McCollum scored a team-high 38 points to go along with four rebounds, and four assists on 15-of-24 shooting. 22 of those 38 points came in the first half alone and included a start of 6-of-6 from behind the arc. After a scorching hot first two quarters, the Celtics started doubling McCollum any time he got the ball after halftime, which cooled him off a bit -- missing all six 3-point attempts and finishing 6-of-12 from three point range.

Naji Marshall  had 18 points, seven rebounds and Trey Murphy III chipped in 15 points for New Orleans, who have lost four out of their last six.

The Celtics led 97-85 heading into the final frame, before using a 7-2 spurt to go up 104-89 with 9:48 left to play. Brown hit an 18-foot pullup to reach 41 points and give Boston a 122-104 advantage -- putting the game away.

Boston's offensive firepower proved to be too much for the shorthanded Pelicans however, as their star wings Tatum and Brown combined for a total of 72 points, making it the 10th time in their careers that they have combined for 70 or more points.

The Celtics start their three game road trip on Thursday night when they take on the Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets (27-13) on the second night of a back-to-back.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 48.4% from the field, including 34.1% (15-of-44) from long distance, while the Pelicans made 51.7% of their attempts and 36.7% (11-of-30) from 3. The Celtics out-rebounded New Orleans 50-33, but were outscored in the paint 54-44. The C's had 24 assists on 44 baskets to the visiting team's 22 dimes on 45 shots.

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe

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