NBA: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown help Celtics cruise past Pacers | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown help Celtics cruise past Pacers

/ 02:34 PM January 07, 2024

Jaylen Brown Celtics NBA

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) goes up to score on a breakaway dunk against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS — Jayson Tatum scored 38 points, making a season-high eight 3-pointers, and Jaylen Brown added 31 points as the Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers 118-101 on Saturday night, snapping the Pacers’ six-game winning streak.

Tatum, who also had 13 rebounds and six assists, combined with Brown for 27 of the Celtics’ 46 baskets on a night they shot 51% from the field and never trailed.


“(Indiana) is really good,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. “When we play connected basketball, with physical half-court defense and intentional, poised offense, we play better, and that’s kind of what we did.”


Boston, which came into the game third in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense (.449) and third in rebound rate, limited the Pacers to a season-low point total and outrebounded them 70-42.

Bennedict Mathurin led Indiana with 20 points while All-Star Tyrese Haliburton finished with 17 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals.

“We missed a lot of shots,” Haliburton said. “They’re a really good defensive team, but we shot a lot of shots that we like. Just didn’t capitalize on them.”

Boston held a 29-17 advantage at the end of the opening period, the Pacers’ lowest-scoring first quarter of the season. The Celtics opened up a 16-point lead in the second quarter and led 58-49 at halftime despite not attempting a free throw in the half. Tatum and Brown shot a combined 16 of 27 for 37 points before intermission.

“Me and Joe watch a lot of film together,” Tatum said. “It’s just finding ways to be aggressive. Play in space. Play off actions.”


Indiana cut its deficit to 84-81 entering the fourth quarter, but the Celtics led by as many as 19 in the final quarter and cruised down the stretch. Boston received only six minutes from starting center Kristaps Porzingis, who left the game due to an eye laceration.

It was the latest chapter in an eventful season series thus far.

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In the first meeting, on Nov. 1 in Boston, the Celtics beat the Pacers 155-104 as Haliburton sat out due to injury. Boston’s point total was the franchise’s highest since 1959. In a hotly contested rematch on Dec. 4, Indiana prevailed 122-112 to knock the visiting Celtics out of the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament behind Haliburton’s first career triple-double.

Indiana played without starting shooting guard Bruce Brown (bone bruise in right knee) and reserve guard Andrew Nembhard (back sprain).


Pacers continue their five-game homestand with a rematch against the Celtics on Monday night.

TAGS: Boston Celtics, NBA

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