Sunday, November 5, 2023

Celtics 124, Nets 114: Jayson Tatum leads all scorers vs. Brooklyn on historic night

The Celtics outlasted the Brooklyn Nets 124-114 Saturday night at the Barclays Center for their fifth straight win.

Jayson Tatum finished with a game-high 32 points om 10-of-20 from the floor and 6-of-10 from behind the arc to go along with 11 rebounds. The 25-year-old became the youngest player in franchise history to reach 10,000 career points -- achieving the milestone midway through the second quarter -- passing the previous record holder in Antoine Walker, who was 26.

Tatum, who only needed 16 points heading into last night's contest to break the record, was one of five C's players to score in double-figures. 

Jaylen Brown netted 23 points, while Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points and seven rebounds. Jrue Holiday nearly notched a triple-double with 18 points (4-of-9 from 3), nine rebounds, 10 assists and Luke Kornet chipped in 11 points off the bench, as Boston remains the only unbeaten team in the NBA at 5-0.
"We have depth and we're extremely talented from top-to-bottom," Tatum said in his postgame presser. "What's special about this group is we've got some really good guys and we got some guys [who] really just compete. Guys [who] want to win."
The Celtics were playing without Derrick White, who was scratched from the lineup for personal reasons, as Al Horford got the starting nod -- his first of the year.

Cam Thomas led the short-handed Nets -- playing without Cameron Johnson, Nic Claxton and Ben Simmons -- with 27 points on 11-of-24 from the field. Spencer Dinwiddie and Mikal Bridges each had 19 respectively, while Dorian Finney-Smith contributed 14 and Lonnie Walker scored 13 off the bench for Brooklyn, who were on a the second night of a back-to-back and dropped to 3-3 on the season.

Despite Boston with a 70-58 advantage at halftime, they were outscored 30-21 in the third quarter and were ahead 91-88 heading into the final frame.

The Nets cut the deficit to one (96-95) with 7:47 left to play, before the Celtics responded with a 14-4 run -- to which nine of those points came from Tatum alone.

Bridges hit a 3-pointer to cut it back to single-digits (113-105) with 2:49 remaining, but that would be the closest Brooklyn got the rest of the way, as Horford (eight points, seven rebounds) put the exclamation point with a slam dunk that got called for a technical foul (hanging on the rim too long) as part of 6-0 spurt. 

Boston with a 119-105 lead, forced the Nets to clear their bench in the final 1:28 of the fourth to secure the victory.
"Our guys continued to play hard," said C's head coach Joe Mazzulla following the win. "Credit to our guys for continuing to chip away, chip away."
The Celtics will continue their mini-road trip when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2) Monday night.   

Game Notes:

Boston hit 47.8% from the field, including 15-of-45 (33.3%) from beyond the arc, while the Nets were 43% from the floor and 17-of-52 (32.7%) from 3-point territory. The Celtics won the rebound battle 50-42 and outscored Brooklyn in the paint 52-38. The C's finished with 22 assists (11 turnovers) on 43 baskets to the home team's 22 dimes (six turnovers) on 43 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of USA Today

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