clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown spoil Udoka’s homecoming, Celtics crush Rockets 145-113

Boston bounces back from tough loss, snags 30th win, and remains undefeated in TD Garden.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It looked close in the first half, but this game was a classic Celtics win. Boston improves to 19-0 at home on the season, and retains the best record in the NBA with a blowout, 145-113 win.

First-quarter Jaylen Brown was out in full force, isolating Fred VanVleet at every opportunity. He had 9 points on 3-4 shooting after one, and was also active on the defensive end (1 steal).

Kristaps Porzingis joined him with 12 first-quarter points. He and Brown combined for Boston’s first 18 points.

All of the Rockets’ starters got on the board in the first, and they were led by breakout center Alperen Sengun and rookie Cam Whitmore, each with 6 points in the first.

It was clear from the first quarter that former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka didn’t intend to leave empty handed. The Rockets played hard, and they’re a scrappy bunch. Plus – regardless of what happened during his tenure in Boston – Udoka gets his guys to work hard.

The Celtics continued their trend of missing open looks in the first, but ended up with pretty good percentages against a good Houston defense. They shot 55% from the field and 40% from three to start.

Jayson Tatum was scoreless until a sweet steal and subsequent slam. Then he had a buzzer-beater three to close the first at 35-31 Boston.

After that, it was all Tatum. He had 27 points on 9-16 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal and a block in the game – and he looked unstoppable for most of it.

Houston’s Jeff Green looked awesome in the first half. He’s in his 16th season, and is providing some real bench production at the four and five spot for Houston. Could he be a trade deadline target for Boston? At $8 million, his contract would be tricky to acquire for Brad Stevens. He would fit great as the third big on this team, though.

Green finished with 9 points in 14 minutes – not bad for a 37-year-old. Sengun continued to put up numbers, and finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists on what felt like an off night (he’s really good). Other than that, Houston’s players had pedestrian box scores outside of garbage time.

Derrick White came alive in the second quarter with a pair of threes – a welcome sight after a couple of rough games. At the final whistle, he had just 13 points, but seems to have broken out of whatever slump had ailed him for the last few nights. Fingers crossed.

Boston led 69-58 at the break, with four starters in double-digit scoring. Jrue Holiday was the exception, with 2 points on 0-4 shooting. He finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.

It was Holiday who drew first blood in the second half, beginning a 7-0 run.

Brown put on another show in the third, including a stretch where he followed a triple with a swat against Jabari Smith Jr. Dope.

He had 21 third-quarter points. That’s insane. He finished with 32, with 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Both Brown and Tatum were tied at 25 points with six minutes left in the third, as Boston extended their lead past 20 points.

They seemed to be competing more with each other than with the Rockets, trading really nice buckets back and forth in an exemplary display of Celtics basketball.

Needless to say, it was looking pretty good for Boston after a 17-4 run at the end of the third.

I blinked, and Payton Pritchard had nine points in the third. He finished with 19. The Celtics led 112-86 heading into the home stretch.

I was thinking it was about time for Tatum to sit, and then he was ejected! After a couple missed calls, Tatum let the refs know. After he was thrown out, the crowd followed suit with a “refs you suck!” chant.

Stay classy, Boston.

The rest of the starters left the game soon, having secured a 30-point lead. It was a professional win, and boy did they need it. The loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday was bad enough that this matchup felt really important.

The Celtics travel to Toronto tomorrow for a Monday night matchup against the Raptors.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog