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Celtics silence Jazz to earn fifth-straight win, 125-97

Boston imposed its will on Utah in a near wire-to-wire win, further moving them up the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics kept up their dominating ways in their fifth straight win against the Utah Jazz, 125-97.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 26 points, while Marcus Smart set a new career-high in assists with 13. Robert Williams had four blocks and two steals, while Al Horford chipped in on the block party as well, with three.

The five-game win-streak for the Celtics is their third in 2022.

Boston returned home from a 4-0 west coast road trip where they had an average margin of victory of 20 points per game.

Utah was without Bojan Bogdanovic, Danuel House and Udoka Azubuike, while Boston had a clean injury sheet.

The Celtics opened up the Wednesday evening tip red-hot from the floor. Tatum hit all three of his shots – all threes – for a quick nine points. Brown also hit two shots for an early four. Boston was 6/6 from the floor, taking a 16-8 lead before the Jazz called an early timeout.

Tatum’s three 3-pointers and Marcus Smart’s lone three had the team 4/4 from deep in their return to the parquet, through just the first four minutes. The offense was flowing early with eight assists on their first eight baskets. Smart had five dimes in the first six minutes.

Once Tatum went to the bench midway through the first, Brown took over on offense, reaching 5/5 shooting for 13 points. The potent offense continued as Boston reached 13/15 from the floor, up 34-18.

The Celtics kept up the shooting pace, scoring nearly 40 points in the first quarter to take a 39-24 lead into the second quarter. Brown had 13 points and Tatum had 11. Smart had nine assists in the first quarter, tying Rajon Rondo’s record for most in a quarter in Celtics history.

The lead continued to swell as the second quarter began. Boston went on an 11-3 run to open the second, led by Payton Pritchard’s six points on two threes.

The Jazz continued to take, and miss, their 3-pointers. Midway through the second, they attempted 34 total shots, 17 of them threes. They shot just 4-17 on those deep balls. Meanwhile, the Celtics were 22/31 overall (71%) and 10/13 from deep (77%) as they took a 30-point lead, 59-29.

Utah went on a small run, cutting the lead back to 23 points with three to go in the first half. Both teams would go back-and-forth to close out the half, with the Celtics holding a 68-45 lead at the break. Tatum had 19 and Brown had 14, with Pritchard (eight) and Daniel Theis (seven) each close to double-digit points on their own.

Donovan Mitchell kept Utah hanging around, reaching 23 points right out of halftime. Mitchell led all scorers with eight left in the third with 25, as Utah cut the Celtic lead to 19. The Jazz, in contrast to their first-half game plan, were trying to get easier looks in the paint since Boston was heavily guarding the 3-point arc.

Smart tied his career-high in assists in the second half, reaching 12 for the third time in his career. On a dish to Derrick White in the corner, he racked up his 13th of the night.

Tatum continued to add to his scoring total in the third, eclipsing 25 points on a suave reverse layup. On the next possession, he found Williams on a bounce pass for an assist while doubled.

The third quarter pace for both teams held firm to close out the third, and the Celtics kept their sizable lead going into the final quarter. Boston led 93-68 after two blocks from Horford and Tatum to close out the period.

After his third three of the night, Pritchard reached double-figures with 11 points. It was his 14th on the season and fifth in a row. This came off the west-coast road swing where he averaged four 3-pointers made per night.

Brown resumed his shotmaking prowess in the fourth, hitting tough jumper after tough jumper.

With a pull-up three in Rudy Gay’s face, he tied Tatum for Boston’s leading scorer with 26.

4:30 remained in the fourth quarter when Ime Udoka decided to put in the bench lineup, putting an end to the big night from all five starters. The win for Boston moved the Celtics ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers and tied the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Boston currently is locked in at two with the Bucks and are a half game ahead of the 76ers.

For more postgame coverage of the Celtics fifth straight win, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss the Celtics’ display of team basketball against the contending Jazz.

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