Thursday, March 9, 2023

Celtics 115, Trail Blazers 93: Jayson Tatum returns to score 30, snap three-game skid

The Celtics bounced back to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 115-93 Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Jayson Tatum returned from his one-game absence to finish with 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point territory. Derrick White had 21 points, seven assists and Al Horford added 17 points, five assists to help improve the Celtics to 46-21 on the season.
"Just getting out of that losing streak is good for our group," Horford said in his postgame presser. "I guess you could say it's a breath of fresh air."
Boston essentially led wire-to-wire and by as many as 27 on their way to snap a three-game skid, while keeping pace with the Milwaukee Bucks (47-18), who remain in first place with a two-game lead for the top spot the East.

Damian Lillard had an off night, going 7-of-16 from the field and 2-of-8 from deep to score 27 points and dish out seven assists for Portland. Jerami Grant chipped in 13 points and Trendon Watford notched a double-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds off the bench, as the Trail Blazers fell to 31-35 and are 2-2 over their last four outings.

The Celtics jumped out to a 35-28 lead to open the game and used a 18-7 run to start the second to give themselves a 53-35 advantage with 4:09 remaining in the half. Portland was held to just 17 points overall in the period and trailed 60-45 at the break.

Boston ended the third on back-to-back made 3-pointers by Tatum and a 94-72 cushion heading into the final frame, where head coach Joe Mazzulla cleared his bench by subbing in Grant Williams and rookie JD Davison.
"I think that's always the goal, no matter how many games are left," Mazzulla said of the C's final stretch of the regular season. "The great teams stay the best version of themselves the longest. And when you don't, you have to quickly get back to who you are."
Robert Williams missed his third straight game with a left hamstring strain, but will join the team on their six-game road trip, which begins Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks (33-33).

Game Notes:

Boston was 47.7% from the field, including 18-of-49 (36.7%) from 3-point range, while the Trail Blazers were 36.6% from the floor and 11-of-39 (28.2%) from long distance. The Celtics were out-rebounded 47-45 but outscored Portland 44-34 in the paint. The C's finished with 26 assists on 42 baskets to the Blazers' 18 dimes on 30 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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