With Kemba Walker sitting out his third straight game Tuesday versus the Portland Trail Blazers, the Celtics continued to lean on their other All-Star.
Jayson Tatum followed up his 41-point performance against the Lakers Sunday with another stellar showing, netting 26 of his game-high 36 points in the second half as the Celtics cruised to a 118-106 road win.
For Tatum, it was the fifth time in the last nine games that he registered at least 30 points as he shot 14-of-22 from the field and was on fire from beyond the arc by dropping in a career-high eight 3-pointers on 12 attempts.
Jayson Tatum has notched his fifth 30+ point game this month and his 10th of the season. He has 33 with 8+ minutes left in the game.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) February 26, 2020
Tatum didn’t do it alone, getting help from Jaylen Brown, who made 8-of-19 shots for 24 points to go along with seven rebounds, while the Celtics collectively shot a staggering 48.7 percent (19-for-39) on 3-pointers. All five starters were in double figures in scoring for the Celtics as Marcus Smart got the starting nod for Walker, who missed the game due to left knee soreness, and scored 12 points while Gordon Hayward (12 points) and Daniel Theis (10 points, nine rebounds) also chipped in. The Celtics again didn’t get a ton of point production from their bench, but Brad Wanamaker had a steady performance by scoring 13 points.
Tatum got off to a slow start with Trevor Ariza playing strong defense early on against the budding superstar, but over the final 24 minutes, Portland had no answer for Tatum.
Tatum got going by scoring 10 straight Boston points in the third quarter as he found his rhythm primarily from distance, draining treys from the corner, from straightaway and off of step-backs to help the Celtics run away with things and improve to 40-17.
0️⃣is on pic.twitter.com/P4Ne8FIGVb— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 26, 2020
Tatum hits the deep three— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 26, 2020
( @MetroByTMobile) pic.twitter.com/nQ6HYCdopp
Leading 56-48 at halftime, the Celtics built much-needed separation with a 16-4 third-quarter run. Smart facilitated the spurt by finding his teammates consistently, especially Tatum, who sank a corner 3-pointer. Brown and Hayward also factored into the run to turn a five-point advantage into an 81-64 lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter. Portland never got the deficit back into single digits from that point.
The Celtics won’t have much time to rest as they finish off a back-to-back Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.