Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Celtics 121, Trail Blazers 99: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum lead short-handed C's past Portland

The Celtics cruised past the Portland Trail Blazers 121-99 Monday night at Moda Center to become the first team in the league to reach 50 wins this season.

Jaylen Brown had a game-high 27 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists, while Jayson Tatum added 26 points, five rebounds, and eight assists to lead the Cs, who have officially clinched a playoff berth with 18 games remaining.
"At this point of the season, to have 50 wins, it means we're doing something right," Tatum said during postgame comments. "The scary part is, we can get better."
Boston, playing without two starters Jrue Holiday (knee) and Kristaps Porzingis (hamstring) on the first night of a back-to-back, finished with six players scoring in double-figures -- including Sam Hauser with 22 points on 6-of-10 from 3-point range off the bench -- to help reach the 50-win milestone for the third consecutive season.
"All the guys laugh because, around this time of year, I say the same thing -- how much of an honor it is to be on a team that's won, get into the playoffs and to not wanna take that for granted -- "I'm grateful to be on a team that's winning, that's been playing the right way and has as another opportunity to do something special. That's a blessing," Brown said in his joint presser with Tatum.
DeAndre Ayton led the Trail Blazers with 22 points, 15 rebounds while Anfernee Simons netted 17 points and Jerami Grant chipped in 14 points for Portland -- which dropped to 18-46.

The Celtics were ahead by as many as 17 in the first half, despite the Blazers getting within six points in the second frame, before the visiting team used a 10-2 spurt to close the quarter and take a 66-52 advantage into the break.

Portland kept hanging around in the third, cutting their deficit to single digits on a 15-5 run with 1:36 remaining in the period.

Hauser hit his sixth 3-pointer (season-high) of the night at the two-minute mark in the final frame to put Boston up 20, which turned into 24 -- the largest margin of the night -- as part of a 17-8 run to close out the Trail Blazers in the wire-to-wire victory.
"We don't really look at a team's record," Hauser said following the win. "It's the NBA, everybody has talented players. You can lose any given night, so we just try to take it one day at a time, once game at a time, and find things that we can get better at each and every day."
The Celtics will wrap up their road trip on Tuesday night in Utah when they face the Jazz (28-36). 

Game Notes:

Boston hit 49% of their field goals, including 15-of-40 (37.5%) from deep, while the Trail Blazers were 44.8% from the floor and 10-of-28 (35.7%) from 3-point range. The Celtics won the rebound battle 45-38 and outscored the home team in the paint 60-44. The C's also dished out 34 assists (three turnovers) on 49 baskets and Portland had 23 dimes (11 turnovers) on 39 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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