Boston Celtics

Celtics-Jazz takeaways: C's elite defense on display in blowout win

The Celtics tied their franchise record for most consecutive home wins (17) to start a season.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Three Key Storylines

  • C's dominate on D
  • Jayson Tatum takes over
  • Well-rested for Indiana

The Boston Celtics remain unbeaten at home after a lopsided win over the Utah Jazz.

It didn't take long for Friday night's showdown at TD Garden to turn into a rout. The C's began the game on a 10-0 run with all five of their starters scoring before a single Jazz starter did. Utah shot 0-for-9 from the floor to start and finished the first quarter with just 15 points on 18.5 percent shooting (5-for-27).

From there, the Celtics cruised to a 126-97 bounce-back victory led by Jayson Tatum's 30-point outburst. Each of their starters scored in double figures, as did Sam Hauser (13 points) off the bench. Boston has now scored at least 120 points in nine consecutive games, tying the franchise record set in Feb. 1960.

The C's also tied their franchise record for most consecutive home wins (17) to start a season. They've won 23 straight home regular-season games dating back to last year, their longest such streak since 1986-87 when they won 33 straight on their home court.

Boston (27-7) will visit the Indiana Pacers (20-14) on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. First, here are three takeaways from Friday's game.

Elite defense on display

This game started with emphatic blocks by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Those set the tone for what turned into a dominant defensive showing from Joe Mazzulla's group.

The Jazz were held to a mere 15 points on 18.5 percent shooting in the first quarter and that hardly improved in the second. They finished the half with 40 points on 30.6 percent shooting (15-for-49).

All five Celtics starters tallied a block through the first two frames. Friday marked the third time all of Boston's starters blocked at least one shot in a game since Dec. 12. The last time the C's accomplished that feat three times in a season was 1991, per Celtics stats guru Dick Lipe.

To put the Celtics' defensive brilliance into perspective, the Jazz shot 51 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range in their Wednesday overtime win over the Detroit Pistons. They finished just 36.2 percent from the floor and 17.6 percent beyond the arc in Boston.

Jayson Tatum takes over

The Jazz found themselves down double-digits in the blink of an eye largely because of Tatum, who had 18 points before the midway point in the second quarter. He nearly outscored Utah on his own in that span.

The Celtics' superstar finished the first half with 23 points -- more than any Jazz player scored in the entire game -- and seven rebounds.

With the C's up 35 points on the first night of a back-to-back, Mazzulla benched Tatum with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Tatum finished with 30 points (6-12 FG, 5-8 3-PT) and was a team-best +34 in just 25 minutes. He also notched nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, and a block while only turning the ball over once. Thirteen of his points came from the free-throw line.

Much-needed rest

The Celtics had two days off before Friday's game and thanks to the blowout, Tatum and the rest of their starters got to rest for the entire fourth quarter. That sets them up nicely for what's likely to be a fast-paced, high-scoring showdown at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

A tough matchup vs. Indiana awaits on Saturday night. The Pacers scored a whopping 150 points in their win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. They dished 50 assists (three shy of the NBA record) on 60 field goals. It's only the 11th time in NBA history that a team has racked up 50 assists in a single game.

The last time the Celtics took on the Pacers, Indiana knocked them out of the NBA In-Season Tournament in a 122-112 defeat. Indiana has been on a tear as of late, winning six consecutive games and scoring at least 120 points in all of them -- and at least 140 points in three of them.

The C's will face the Pacers twice in back-to-back games, staying in Indiana to play them Saturday and again on Monday. From there, it'll only get more difficult for Boston as it has the third-toughest schedule this month, per Its opponents in January have a .554 winning percentage.

With how grueling the road ahead looks for the Celtics, a little bit of rest should go a long way.

Contact Us