Saturday, March 25, 2023

Celtics 120, Pacers 95: Jayson Tatum drops 34 in another dominate C's victory

Jayson Tatum recorded his 40th 30-point game in the Celtics 120-95 win over the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden Friday night.

The All-Star forward notched a franchise record by scoring 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting, while also grabbing seven rebounds. 

Tatum passed Celtic icon and Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird, who had 39 30-point games during the 1987-88 campaign, as the team's all-time leader with the most 30-point games in a single season.

Jaylen Brown added 27 points, seven rebounds, while Derrick White was 5-of-9 from deep to register 22 points and nine assists to help Boston improve to 27-9 at home and 51-23 overall.
"Just playing with more of a sense of urgency and two, just being more communicative and just trying to get guys going and get guys to be aggressive and just being a leader out there," Brown said during his postgame presser. "I think that's key. And playing the game the right way. Encouraging out guys to be aggressive and coming doing what they do best."
The Celtics remain 2.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks (53-20) for the best record in the East and have a half-game lead over the third place Philadelphia 76ers (49-24).

Tyrese Haliburton finished with 20 points and nine assists to lead the Pacers, who fell to 33-41. Myles Turner also netted 20 points, while Isaiah Jackson chipped in 12 points off the bench.

Boston was ahead 60-55 at the break before going on a 17-5 run to start the second half, including 12 straight points by Tatum and Brown, on their way to outscore the Pacers 32-21 in the third quarter.

The Celtics opened up the fourth period with another 14-2 spurt that eventually ballooned into a 29-point advantage and never looked back -- converting 21 points off of 17 total turnovers for the night.

Tatum and Brown combined for 61 points and 23-of-47 from the field in Boston's second straight win, coming off a 4-2 road trip.
"I think they're both finding a great balance of being dominant players and being team players. I just think when they do that, our team's different," C's head coach Joe Mazzulla said about his All-Stars. "Right now they're very committed to being both."
The Celtics have eight games left, as they'll host the San Antonio Spurs (19-55) Sunday night in an early 6:00 ET tip-off. 

Game Notes:

Boston was 47.3% from the field, including 18-of-42 (42.9%) from 3-point territory, while the Pacers were 46.4 from the floor and 4-of-26 (15.4%) from long distance. The Celtics out-rebounded the visiting team 49-44, but were outscored in the paint 56-48. The C's dished out 28 assists (15 turnovers) on 44 baskets and Indiana had 24 dimes (17 turnovers) on 39 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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