BOSTON, MA — The Celtics rode Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to an explosive run of pacing and spacing to close a third quarter that thwarted the second best team in the west, the Nuggets, from hanging around in the third.
A blowout victory didn’t require Gordon Hayward or Kemba Walker’s best, showcasing how deep this Boston’s team has been. Marcus Smart returned with a 4-for-5 performance on his mother’s birthday and Stevens continues to toy with his center options. Enjoy the fallout of winning below.
Brad Stevens: “Our number one objective was to be a team that Boston liked.”
Stevens acknowledged how much more enjoyable this team is to watch after the Celtics’ fourth win in five games and second straight over a high-level opponent. He discussed the blitzes Jayson Tatum faces now, and how Boston’s handled them. Plus, more on Gordon Hayward’s impending return with optimism for a smooth integration.
Jaylen Brown: “At first I didn’t like JT. Nah, I’m just playing.”
Brown and Tatum now combine for over 41 points per game (37%). Brown reflected on their relationship and its evolution since Boston drafted Tatum in 2017.
Marcus Smart: “Today was a special day, my mother’s birthday.”
Smart’s mother died following a battle with cancer last September, so Saturday marked the first night he played on her birthday since losing her. He discussed that experience after the win.
Jayson Tatum: “I can’t wait for Grant (Williams) to hit one. Everybody’s gonna go crazy.”
Grant Williams nearly hit his first three late in Saturday’s game but fell to 0-for-25, which Tatum pointed out when asked about Williams making fun of his chest. “Grant’s a hater,” he joked.
The Garden Report —
Recap: “An impressive win.”
Brown and Tatum: Brown and Tatum combined for an 8-2 run to close the third quarter that propelled the Celts to a 21-point lead. Brown’s dunk and Tatum’s buzzer-beating three reflected how they’re thriving in tandem.
Hayward’s return: Stevens expects no issues, “it’ll be easy (to integrate Hayward),” Tatum said.
Celtics Post Game: Who’s been the best Celtic?