NBA: Jayson Tatum, Celtics hold off Spurs | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Jayson Tatum, Celtics hold off Spurs

/ 03:05 PM January 08, 2023

Jayson Tatum Celtics NBA

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics reacts after scoring a three-point basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the third quarter at the TD Garden on December 25, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. Brian Fluharty/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Brian Fluharty / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Jayson Tatum scored 34 points and had the game-winning jumper with 33.7 seconds to play as the visiting Boston Celtics outlasted the short-handed San Antonio Spurs 121-116 on Saturday.

The Spurs were playing the second game of a home back-to-back and were without three regular starters but hung tough with Boston, the team with the best record in the NBA.

The Celtics led by 15 points late in the second quarter but led just 114-113 after Romeo Langford’s layup with 1:12 to play. Robert Williams III’s alley-oop dunk on the ensuing possession put Boston back up by three points but Josh Richardson canned a 3-pointer with 37.4 seconds left for San Antonio to tie the game.

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After a timeout, Tatum’s step-back jumper in the lane on Derrick White’s 11th assist of the game gave the Celtics the lead. San Antonio’s Jeremy Sochan then missed a 3-pointer and Tatum hit a free throw with 4.9 seconds remaining to push the lead to three points. He missed the second attempt, but Al Horford grabbed the offensive rebound before Malcolm Brogdon was fouled and closed out the game with two free throws.

Jaylen Brown added 29 points for Boston, with Brogdon scoring 23, Williams hitting for 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds and Horford taking 11 rebounds.

Zach Collins racked up a career-high-tying 18 points and 12 rebounds for San Antonio. Richardson and Tre Jones added 18 points apiece while Langford had 14, Doug McDermott scored 13, Sochan tallied 11 and Stanley Johnson and Malaki Branham each contributed 10 points for the Spurs.

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San Antonio was without Devin Vassell, who will have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee next week, leading scorer Keldon Johnson, who strained his left hamstring in Friday’s win over Detroit and Jakob Poeltl, who was out with left Achilles bursitis.

The Celtics led 33-30 after the first quarter. San Antonio was within 57-49 after a 3-pointer by Richardson with 4:15 to play in the second quarter before Boston reeled off an 11-4 run to build a 15-point lead with 1:04 left in the half. Baskets by Branham and Jones pulled San Antonio to 68-57 at the break.

Brown led the Celtics with 18 points before halftime with Tatum hitting for 17 and Brogdon adding 11. Collins and Richardson paced San Antonio with 10 points each at halftime.

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