Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Celtics 118, Pelicans 112: Jayson Tatum, Derrick White lead C's late rally to snap two-game home skid

The Celtics defended their home court with a comeback 118-112 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night at TD Garden.

Jayson Tatum finished with 28 points on 10-of-18 from the field, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, while Jaylen Brown added 22 points (8-of-15), 11 rebounds, and seven assists to help Boston snap a two-game skid at home and improve to 21-2.
“It's a full season. It's a full body of work you have to account for night in and night out," Brown said in his postgame presser. "We don't really make no excuses. But it's tough. You've got to come out and be the best version of yourself every single night."
Jrue Holiday had 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 from deep and Al Horford, who started in place of Kristaps Porzingis (ankle sprain) chipped in 11 points (4-of-9), eight rebounds for the C's -- a league-best 36-11.

Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 28 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, while Zion Williamson scored 26 points and CJ McCollum chipped in 16 points -- as the Pelicans fell to 26-21 on the season and have lost three straight.

Boston trailed by 14 in the first quarter and by as many as 17 in the second, before cutting it to 10 by the break (60-50).

A 10-2 spurt by the Celtics to start the third period gave them their first lead since the opening minutes of the night, but Williamson responded with nine unanswered points as part of a 19-5 run by the Pelicans with 4:19 to go.

The C's countered by scoring 13 of the next 15 points, as New Orleans took an 87-81 advantage into the final frame.

A Williamson and-one play to begin the quarter put the Pelicans ahead by 11, before Boston had one more rally left. Derrick White, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:05 left to play and put the home team up for good -- during an 18-6 Boston span.

White -- who scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth -- drained another dagger 3-ball (his third of the period) at the 3:05 mark. The C's would convert on back-to-back possessions, including a Tatum dunk off a steal and a Brown 25-footer on an assist by Tatum giving them a 114-103 lead in the final 1:07.
"We know our blind spots. We know that the last five minutes of a game we have to execute better and get quality looks," Pelicans coach Willie Green said during his postgame comments. "We had a few turnovers down the stretch. That's where we have to grow."
In the end, the Celtics outscored New Orleans 68-52 in the second half and forced six of the Pelicans' 12 turnovers in the fourth quarter alone -- while using a 33-11 run to secure the victory.
"We can't lose sight of the fact that we have to earn a win every night," Boston's coach Joe Mazzulla said on the hopes the win helps his players get rid of any potential feelings of "entitlement."
The Celtics continue their longest home stand of the season Tuesday when they host the Indiana Pacers (27-20) on the second night of a back-to-back. TNT has the tip-off at 7:30 pm ET.

Game Notes:

Boston connected on 50.6% of their attempts, including 17-of-46 (37%) from 3-point range while the Pelicans were 50.5% from the floor and 10-of-35 (28.6%) from long distance. The Celtics were outscored in the paint 58-44 and turned the ball over 11 times.

The C's finished with 27 assists on 43 baskets to New Orleans' 21 dimes on 46 shots made. Both teams grabbed 40 rebounds respectively.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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