When the Celtics needed him most Sunday afternoon, Jaylen Brown was there to deliver.
Brown scored 16 points during the fourth quarter, including the most important basket of the day. With 32.3 seconds left in a one-possession game, Brown caught a pass from Jayson Tatum and drained a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a six-point lead that was critical to them holding on for a 128-124 win.
Less than five seconds after Brown made his trey, Carmelo Anthony made one for Portland. Had Brown not made his moments earlier, the game would have then been tied, which underlines the importance of Brown’s crunch-time bucket.
Boston was able to close out the victory with free throws during the final seconds, after Portland pulled to within one point with 3.4 seconds left. Gordon Hayward canned two freebies with 3.0 seconds remaining, and Tatum sealed the game with one free throw with 2.2 seconds left. Tatum’s free throw was the final point of the contest.
Brown’s elite fourth quarter prevented the C’s from suffering a devastating defeat at the hands of the Trail Blazers. Boston led by as many as 24 points during the game, but that lead disappeared during the fourth quarter and actually turned into a four-point deficit at one point.
The Celtics were able to stem the tide and pull out a win, thanks in large part to Brown coming up clutch during the final period.
Sorry, what were all of the pundits saying about Jayson Tatum following Friday night’s rough performance? That he had lost it during the hiatus? That he looked like a completely different player?
Yeah, about that…
Tatum struggled Friday night but responded in resounding fashion Sunday afternoon by pouring in a game-high 34 points against the Portland Trail Blazers. He shot 11-for-22 from the field, including a scorching 5-for-8 effort from long range, during his dominant performance.
In addition to Tatum’s scoring, he also set a new career high with eight assists. His teammates shot 8-for-8 off of his passes, including 6-for-6 from long distance, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Lastly, at the defensive end of the court, Tatum limited All-Star point guard Damian Lillard to 1-for-5 shooting from the field as his primary defender, including an 0-for-2 showing during the fourth quarter.
Add all of that up, and suffice to say, Tatum’s naysayers are now eating crow.
Box Score Nuggets
- Four players scored at least 30 points in the game, led by 34 from Jayson Tatum.
- Tatum (34 points) and Jaylen Brown (30 points) led the Celtics in scoring.
- Brown scored 16 of his 30 points during the fourth quarter, thanks to a 6-for-6 shooting effort.
- Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic each scored 30 points for Portland.
- Boston's players shot 8-for-8 off of passes from Tatum, which led to him notching a career-high eight assists.
- Both teams shot at least 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range.
- Boston shot 54.5 percent from the field and 60 percent from long range.
- Portland shot 50 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from long range.
- No player in the game grabbed double-digit rebounds. Nurkic led the contest with nine boards.
- Lillard led the game with 16 assists.
- The Celtics totaled nine steals and six blocked shots.
- Marcus Smart (three), Tatum and Brown (two each) each grabbed multiple steals.
- Enes Kanter came off the bench to log 11 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
- Gordon Hayward was steady, as always, with his 22 points, eight assists and three steals.
Quote of the Night
We have a young team, but we don’t have time for young mistakes.
Jaylen Brown on the Celtics