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Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson duel, Celtics beat Suns 102-94

Tatum and Jackson’s career will be tied together as the #3 and #4 picks of last year’s draft. Both scored 23 and showed that they could be stars in this league for years to come.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A few days after the anniversary of Devin Booker’s 70-point game at the Garden last season, the Celtics went into Talking Stick Resort Arena and overshadowed the Suns 102-94. Jayson Tatum continued his consistent scoring with 23 points and an aggressive Al Horford hovered around a triple double with 19-9-7. Boston went through defensive lapses whenever the lead ballooned over 10, but they lit up the Suns from behind the arc, making 14 of 29 threes.

Booker scored zero points, sitting out nursing a hand injury, but there were story lines galore coming into this one:

NBA: Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Rozier encore: Remember back in February when he had a triple double followed up by 31 points performance? After scoring 33 points with 5 rebounds, 3, assists, and 5 steals on Sunday, how would Scary Terry follow that up on a back-to-back out west? Rozier was cold from the field, but still finished with 16 points and 3 assists with zero turnovers.

Josh Jackson vs. Jayson Tatum: Tatum was always Ainge’s guy, but there was some consideration—maybe just from the fan base—that Josh Jackson could/should have been the first round pick for the Celtics in the 2017 draft. But after Jackson cancelled his workout with Boston’s brass en route to Sacramento, Tatum became the #3 pick.

The pair came out aggressive and dueled in the first quarter. Tatum hit 4-of-6 for 9 points to Jackson’s 12 on nine shots. Both finished with 23 points.

Marcus Morris revenge game: Morris and his brother, Markieff, both signed in Phoenix, but when the team traded him to Detroit, he felt like it was disrespectful and a “slap in the face.” Through three quarters, Morris continued his hot shooting hitting 6-of-8 shots including three three-pointers, but he finished his night with 20 points after reinjuring his sprained right ankle when Troy Daniels undercut him on a buzzer beater. X-rays were negative.

The Celtics go into Utah on Wednesday night with a record of 51-23, three games behind Toronto for the #1 seed with two meetings still on the horizon, including a marquee match up Saturday night in the Garden.

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