Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

During the Celtics’ three game road trip coming out of the All-Star break, Jayson Tatum didn’t look like the player he had in the first half of the season. During that stretch he averaged 21 points per game – nine fewer than his season pace. He shots 36.7 percent from the floor and 24.1 percent from three. In Monday’s loss to the Knicks, he had one of his worst performances of the year then was dealt his first career ejection late in the game.

That set the stage for Wednesday night, when Tatum and the Celtics welcomed the Cleveland Cavaliers to TD Garden to kick off a three-game homestand. The Cavs entered the game the fourth seed in the East. The game also featured a superstar matchup on national TV, with Tatum going head-to-head with Donovan Mitchell. Plus, the Celtics were 0-2 against Cleveland so far this year coming into the game.

With those stakes, Tatum delivered a bounce-back performance in a 117-113 Celtics win. He finished with a team-high 41 points, shooting 13 of-21 from the floor and 4-of-6 from three. On top of that, he got to the line 14 times, hitting 11 free throws. Tatum also flirted with a triple-double, coming away with 11 rebounds and eight assists. Tatum is just the third Celtics player to post a 41/11/8 stat line in franchise history, joining Larry Bird (he did it three times) and John Havlicek.

  • The game started out as a grind, with 10 lead changes in the first 15 minutes. The teams continued to go back-and-forth for much of the first half, and the Celtics went into the break up 55-52.

    However, the Celtics came out of the locker room with renewed focus and took control of the game. They outscored the Cavaliers 41-26 in that third quarter, as Tatum delivered 18 points in the frame. Cleveland wouldn’t get the margin back into single digits until late in the fourth quarter, at which point it was too little, too late.

  • In addition to Tatum’s performance, the Celtics got a big night from Al Horford. Horford finished second on the team in scoring with 23 points, after another highly-efficient game from the floor. He shot 8-of-10, including 6-of-8 from deep after starting the game 6-of-6. His 11 rebounds added up to his fifth double-double of the year.

    Horford wasn’t the only Celtics big man dominating either. Robert Williams had a double-double of his own with 11 points (on 4-of-4 shooting) and 11 rebounds, as well as a pair of blocks. Williams looked as healthy as he has since beginning the season late due to an offseason knee procedure, and he finished multiple alley-oop dunks throughout the game.

  • With the win, the Celtics improved to 45-18 on the season. They’re now half a game behind the 45-17 Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the East, after the Bucks beat the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night for their 15th win in a row.

    Up next for the Celtics is a Friday night game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. It will be the first time the Celtics have faced the Nets since superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were dealt at the trading deadline last month. Coverage of that game begins at 7 p.m. ET on 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Celtics Radio Network.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.