Jayson Tatum is almost making his high-volume scoring nights look routine at this point as his February hot streak continued in Utah Wednesday night.
Tatum poured in 25 of his team-high 33 points in the first half, going toe-to-toe with Donovan Mitchell, who netted 37 points, and the Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter to topple the Jazz, 114-103.
For Tatum, who finished 13-of-20 from the field and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and also grabbed 11 rebounds, it was his third consecutive game with at least 30 points and he has gone over the 30-point mark in six of the last nine contests.
While Tatum dazzled once again, he had assistance from Jaylen Brown, who knocked down eight of his 16 shots to score 20 points. Half of Brown’s point production came in the third quarter as he took over when Tatum went to the bench to get rest midway through the frame by connecting on two 3-pointers and a jumper.
Marcus Smart, who wound up with 17 points and nine assists, put the game away in the fourth quarter by drilling three straight 3-pointers and then dished out a stellar pass to Enes Kanter down low for an easy bucket.
I thought for sure that shot was going up... Really impressive pass https://t.co/XDd1LWe1v8— John Karalis (@RedsArmy_John) February 27, 2020
Daniel Theis was his usual steady self even though he had to go up against Rudy Gobert as the German center recorded 16 points and seven rebounds. Kanter and Brad Wanamaker both chipped in off the bench with eight points each.
Both teams got off to cold starts offensively as the Jazz shot 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from the floor in the first quarter and the Celtics weren’t much better at 8-for-22, but it did give Boston a 23-15 lead after the opening 12 minutes.
Tatum and Mitchell then heated up in the second quarter, as the All-Stars matched each other shot for shot. Tatum’s scoring prowess was highlighted when he showed off his nifty handles to get to the exact spot he wanted to get to on the floor before draining a fadeaway, 16-foot jumper over Georges Niang and followed that up with a step-back 3-pointer to help the Celtics open up a 36-26 advantage.
After picking up two early fouls, Mitchell came out attacking in the second quarter and showcased his array of offensive moves, netting 11 straight points — he tallied 20 points in the frame — as the Jazz put together a 17-3 run that erased the double-digit deficit and put Utah in front. But Tatum led the response just before the break, scoring on a driving layup to give the Celtics a 53-51 halftime lead.
Gordon Hayward didn’t have his best outing playing back in Utah where he spent seven seasons as Hayward finished with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting.