Celtics-Knicks takeaways: Tatum catches fire late as C’s win third straight originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Table of Contents
Three Key Storylines
For the most part, it was an entertaining, back-and-forth affair between the Eastern Conference rivals at TD Garden. The Knicks, despite the absence of RJ Barrett (migraine) and it being the second night of a back-to-back, looked like the more energized team in the first half as they took an eight-point lead into the final 1:15 of the second quarter. That’s when the momentum shifted in the Celtics’ favor.
The C’s closed the first half on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to one. Jaylen Brown put the exclamation point on the impressive finish to the second quarter with a buzzer-beater 3-pointer.
Boston pulled away in a hard-fought second half — which included a 17-4 Celtics run in the fourth quarter — to send the TD Garden crowd home happy with a 114-98 win.
Jayson Tatum (35 points), Jaylen Brown (22 points), and Kristaps Porzingis (21 points) each crossed the 20-point threshold for the second consecutive game. Jalen Brunson (26 points) and Julius Randle (25 points) led the Knicks in the scoring column.
Next up for the C’s (8-2) is a trip to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers (8-1) on Wednesday night. First, here are our takeaways from Monday’s triumph.
Jayson Tatum: The closer
The Knicks couldn’t keep Tatum quiet for long.
The Celtics superstar started the night 0-for-6 from 3-point range and was largely held in check by New York throughout the first half. After halftime, Tatum flipped a switch.
Tatum hit four of his next five shots from deep and almost single-handedly gave the Celtics a commanding lead in the fourth quarter. He tallied 23 second-half points, including 17 in the dominant fourth.
Tatum has now scored at least 30 points in six of the Celtics’ 10 games this season. His 35 points were a season-high, though it probably won’t be long before the MVP candidate tops that mark.
Sam Hauser becoming more than just a shooter
To say Hauser has found his groove after his slow start to the season would be a massive understatement. He carried the momentum from Saturday’s strong performance into Monday’s action.
Hauser started 3-for-3 from 3-point range to stay red-hot in November. He ended up 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to finish with 12 points in 21 minutes, making him now 25-for-44 (56.8 percent) from beyond the arc this month.
When Tatum’s shots weren’t falling in the first half, it was Hauser picking up the slack. But this season, Hauser’s value hasn’t been limited to his shooting. He has also made an impact with his defense.
Hauser has looked like a legitimate 3-and-D wing through the Celtics’ first 10 games of the campaign. His improved rebounding and defense were on display throughout Monday’s win, especially in the first half when he notched three quick boards. He finished with four rebounds.
Jrue Holiday joins elite company
Holiday enjoyed another rock-solid all-around performance in Monday’s win and he made some history in the process.
The veteran guard became the 147th player in NBA history to tally 15,000 career points. He’s one of 19 active players who have accomplished the feat.
Holiday crossed the 15,000-point threshold with this 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter:
In addition, Holiday became only the ninth active player with 15,000 career points and 5,000 assists. He joins LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Conley in that elite category.
Holiday finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting (3-5 3-PT) to go with seven rebounds and two assists.
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