Saturday, January 6, 2024

Celtics 126, Jazz 97: Jayson Tatum, C's cruise past Utah en route to 17th straight home victory

The Celtics beat the Utah Jazz 126-97 Friday night and continued their winning streak at TD Garden to 17 -- tying the franchise record for most consecutive wins at home to start the season.

Boston jumped out to a 12-2 lead at the onset of the game and never looked back, winning the first quarter 30-15, while holding the Jazz to 19% shooting from the field in the first frame and limiting them to 1-of-12 from long distance. The Celtics did not stop there, opening up the second period on an extended 24-3 run and were ahead 54-18 with 6:04 left in the half -- tripling Utah's point total.

Jayson Tatum led the way with 30 points, nine rebounds, and five assists while hitting 6-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from three in just under 25 minutes of action. 23 of his total points came in the first two quarters, as the C's starters were able to rest much of the second half. Tatum continued to attack the rim in this contest, resulting in a season-high 14 attempts from the free throw line -- knocking down 13 of them. 
"He was just being patient, slowing down, taking what the defense gives him," Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla said of Tatum's season best in free throw attempts.
Kristaps Porzingis also poured in 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting and going 10-of-12 from the charity stripe, to go along with five rebounds, while Jrue Holiday added 14 points and Jaylen Brown chipped in 13 points, five assists for the Celtics, who improved to 27-7 on the season.
"He's a big part of the success that we are having as a team," Tatum said in his postgame comments of Porzingis. "His presence on both ends of the floor and just how efficient he's been the entire season, he's a big reason why we got the best team in the league."
On the Jazz side of things, All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen was their leading scorer with 17 points on 7-of-16 shooting, five rebounds and five assists. Collin Sexton had 13 points and John Collins recorded 12 points, 11 rebounds for Utah -- who fell to 16-20 after winning three straight.

In Boston's first matchup since Joe Mazzulla was announced as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for December Thursday, Mazzulla wanted to make it known how much he appreciates his staff following the victory.
"It's a testament to the staff, I wish they would change it to staff of the month because I'm not doing it by myself," said Mazzulla, who finished with a 12-2 record last month. "I think it's just a testament to the environment that we are creating, so yeah, it does mean something to me because it shows what we are doing is paying off."
With the Celtics facing a second half of a back-to-back on the road against the Indiana Pacers (20-14) Saturday night, the extra rest from Friday's blowout could prove to be important, as the game will tip-off at 7:00 pm ET.

Game Notes:

Boston hot 43.3% from the field, including 17-of-49 (34.7%) from 3-point range, while the Jazz were 36.2% from the floor and 6-of-34 (17.6%) from long distance. The Celtics won the rebound battle 47-41 but were outscored in the paint 50-40. The C's dished out 24 assists (14 turnovers) on 39 baskets and the Jazz had 23 dimes (18 turnovers) on 34 made shots.

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

1 comment:

  1. Tatum is a winner and so are you. Terrific commentary, really enjoying your articles.