Tatum, Brown sizzle, Celtics roll to 125-97 win over Jazz

Mar 23, 2022, 6:54 AM | Updated: 8:40 pm
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) blows a kiss to fans after hitting a 3-pointer against the ...

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) blows a kiss to fans after hitting a 3-pointer against the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — It seemed unlikely the Celtics could play better than they did during a 4-0 West Coast road trip that included three wins by 20-plus points.

They found a way to do just that.

Jayson Tatum scored 11 of his 26 points during Boston’s nearly perfect first quarter to help the Celtics roll to a 125-97 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

Jaylen Brown also added 26 points and Marcus Smart finished with a career-high 13 assists as Boston (46-28) recorded its fifth straight victory to improve its chances for one of the Eastern Conference’s top four seeds.

It’s given a team that was in ninth place and just two games above .500 on Jan. 31 a completely different outlook heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

“That’s crazy, right? Brown said. “I feel like this was very prime for us, we just had to put full stretches together. I knew the energy was about to shift. So I’m happy that we’re here now.”

It’s taken the sting out of some early season losses, he said.

“As many games as we blew in the first half of the season — it would have been nice to have won some of those games because we would be in first right now,” Brown said. “But everything happens for a reason. We take it one game at a time and we’ll see where we’re at playoff time.”

Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points but Utah (45-28) lost consecutive games for the first time since the end of January, a span of 21 games. Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Jazz tried their best to keep pace all night, but simply couldn’t get enough shots to fall. They entered the night as the NBA’s sixth-best scoring offense (113.7 points per game), but were held under 100 points for the first time in 12 games.

Utah never got closer than 18 in the second half.

The Jazz particularly struggled from the outside, going 8 of 36 from the 3-point line. Utah also had only 13 assists on 35 made baskets.

Gobert said the Jazz’s issues over the past two losses are becoming repetitive.

“It’s the same things that happen when we stop playing the way we’re supposed to play and we want to play, and we want to be a championship team,” Gobert said. “It’s defense and offensively it’s sharing the ball.”

Boston hit its first 10 shots of the game, including six 3-pointers, on the way to jumping out to a 28-12 lead. Its first miss didn’t come until the 4:05 mark of the opening quarter when a layup by Brown rolled off the rim.

It was one of the few miscues for the Celtics, who ended the period with a 39-24 lead. They went 15 of 19 from the field, 7 of 9 from beyond the arc and held a 12-2 rebounding edge.

The lead grew as high as 30 in the second quarter and Boston took a 68-45 advantage into halftime. Smart ended the half with 10 assists in just 15 minutes of action.

Boston collectively had a season-high 37 assists on the night, while also shooting a season-best 59% from the floor.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka said the unselfishness is becoming contagious. He’s hopeful it’s just the beginning.

“Guys are confident, playing free and playing together,” Udoka said. “I think we all feel there’s another level we can take it to.”


Jazz: Had only seven assists on 17 field goals in the first half. … Udoka Azubuike (right ankle sprain), Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf sprain), Danuel House (left knee bruise) all sat out.

Celtics: It was the 18th consecutive game Tatum has scored at least 20 points. … Had 13 assists in the first quarter.


Jazz: Continue six-game road trip at Charlotte on Friday.

Celtics: Host Minnesota on Sunday.


More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Australia's Lauren Jackson poses for a selfie with a young fan following their win over Japan at th...
Associated Press

Lauren Jackson, Aussie fans enjoying her World Cup finale

SYDNEY (AP) — Thirty minutes after Australia knocked off Canada in the preliminary round of the women’s basketball World Cup, Lauren Jackson was back on the court signing autographs and posing for selfies with hundreds of adoring fans. They couldn’t get enough of the Australian star and she reciprocated the love, not wanting to leave […]
1 day ago
Germany's head coach Hans-Dieter Flick, left, shakes hands with England's head coach Gareth Southga...
Associated Press

World Cup Watch: European giants showing flaws before Qatar

LONDON (AP) — All roads now lead to Qatar. With the conclusion of the group stage of the Nations League, Europe’s top soccer countries have played their final competitive games ahead of the World Cup. Here’s how things are shaping up for a continent that has provided the last four winners of the World Cup. […]
1 day ago
Two Nepali sherpa guides, second right and fourth right, who survived an avalanche at a lower eleva...
Associated Press

Body of missing famed U.S. extreme skier recovered in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The body of a famed U.S. extreme skier who went missing this week after falling from the world’s eighth-highest mountain was recovered Wednesday and transported to Nepal’s capital. Hilaree Nelson, 49, was skiing down from the 8,163-meter (26,775-foot) summit of Mount Manaslu with her partner, Jim Morrison, on Monday when she […]
1 day ago
El relevista de los Padres de San Diego Nick Martínez reacciona durante el sexto inning del juego ...
Associated Press

Padres beat Dodgers 4-3 in 10 to reduce magic number to 4

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jorge Alfaro is used to being in position to walk off games. Just not with a walk-off walk. Alfaro drew a bases-loaded free pass from Craig Kimbrel with two outs in the 10th inning and the San Diego Padres beat the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Tuesday night […]
1 day ago
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Robbie Raywals walks through the dugout after he was pulled from ...
Associated Press

Mariners’ late slide continues with 5-0 loss to Rangers

SEATTLE (AP) — Robbie Ray has an idea for how to get the Seattle Mariners refocused and hopefully out of their late-season slide. Stop worrying about what is happening elsewhere. “For me, we’ve just got to stop looking at the scoreboard. If it was my choice, we turn that thing off. Because we need to […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels' Matt Duffy (5) scores ahead of a throw to Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy...
Associated Press

Jo Adell’s 8th-inning RBI sends Angels past Athletics, 4-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jo Adell drove in Matt Duffy with a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games, and the Los Angeles Angels opened their final homestand of the season with a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. A.J. Puk […]
1 day ago
Tatum, Brown sizzle, Celtics roll to 125-97 win over Jazz