Robert Williams celebrates during a win over the Rockets

Keys to the Game: Celtics 126, Rockets 102

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Key Moment

It sure didn’t take long for Boston to kick it into overdrive and leave the Rockets in the dust Tuesday night.

Neither team was able to build a double-digit lead through the first 32-plus minutes of the game, but over the final four minutes of the third period, the Celtics caught their groove and pulled away for good.

Boston outscored Houston 15-7 over the final 3:26 of the third to open up an 11-point advantage heading into the fourth. It then opened up the final period on a 9-3 run to pull ahead by 17, and the C’s never looked back from there.

Jaylen Brown initiated the run at the end of the third by scoring the first four points. Grant Williams, meanwhile, might’ve played the key role of the spurt, as he canned back-to-back 3-pointers at the 1:37 mark and the 1:08 mark to fuel the Celtics and their crowd.

Tatum carried the momentum into the fourth quarter by draining a triple just 11 seconds into the frame, and then by adding an alley-oop slam from Williams 45 seconds later to push the lead out to 97-81. In one fell slam, Tatum brought the fans onto their feet while erasing Houston’s chances of a win.

Key Player

Jaylen Brown didn’t veer outside of the scoring column too often Tuesday night, but truthfully, he didn’t need to. His scoring was about all Boston needed.

Brown notched a game-high 39 points against the Rockets while canning 14 of his 26 shots from the field. He also canned six of his 15 3-pointers and all five of his free throws to account for his excellent scoring night.

Now let’s not pretend like Brown didn’t contribute anything else, because he certainly did. He tied Marcus Smart for the game-high in steals with three, and also added in two rebounds and one assist during his nearly 35 minutes of action.  

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jaylen Brown (39 points) and Jayson Tatum (38 points) combined for 77 of Boston's 126 points.
  • Brown and Marcus Smart tied for the game high in steals with three apiece.
  • Robert Williams put forth his best performance since his return from injury by tallying his first double-double of the season with 11 points, a game-high 15 rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.
  • Brown and Tatum each made six 3-pointers.
  • Jalen Green led the Rockets with 28 points.
  • The final margin of 24 points marked the largest lead of the game.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. stuffed the stat sheet for Houston with 22 points, a game-high nine assists, and five rebounds.
  • Derrick White blocked as many shots (two) as Houston's entire team.
  • White finished with a plus-22 to mark the game's top plus/minus rating.
  • Boston scored 21 points off of Houston's 15 turnovers.
  • The Celtics scored at least 34 points during each of the final three quarters.

Quote of the Night

"Great opportunity, but at the same time, (I’m) too humble about the opportunity."

- Damon Stoudamire on filling in for Joe Mazzulla as head coach during Mazzulla's absence