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May 29, 2024

Celtics Continue Home Dominance, Dismantle Jazz 126-97

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Jan 6, 2024

The Boston Celtics continued their unprecedented success at home, blowing out the Utah Jazz 126-97 on Friday night to improve to 17-0 at TD Garden. Behind another sensational performance from Jayson Tatum and a dominant defensive effort, Boston cruised to a statement win over a Western Conference foe.

Tatum, Brown Lead Offensive Onslaught

The Celtics wasted no time imposing their will, jumping out to a 39-19 lead after one quarter. Tatum scored 17 first-quarter points, showcasing the versatile scoring arsenal that has him in the MVP discussion.

Tatum finished with a game-high 30 points on blistering 12-18 shooting. Jaylen Brown added 26 points and combined with Tatum to shoot 21-32 from the field.

Player Points Rebounds Assists
Jayson Tatum 30 8 3
Jaylen Brown 26 5 1

As a team, Boston was unstoppable offensively. The 126 points tied a regular season franchise record. The Celtics shot 56.5% from the field and made 20 three-pointers while committing just 10 turnovers.

“It all starts on the defensive end,” Tatum said. “We were able to get stops and get out in transition. When we’re playing like that, getting stops and running, I don’t think anybody can mess with us.”

Stifling Defense Sets Tone

While the offense grabs the headlines, Boston’s defense set the tone. The Celtics swarmed the Jazz, forcing 20 turnovers leading to 32 points going the other way. Utah’s leading scorer Lauri Markkanen shot just 5-17 for 13 points.

The Celtics have established themselves as arguably the NBA’s top defense, holding opponents to the lowest field goal percentage (43.4%) and the 4th-fewest points per game (108.7). This was another masterclass performance from that end of the floor.

“Our defense is the key to everything we do,” Brown said. “When we get stops like that, we’re hard to deal with.”

Boston was locked in from the jump, jumping passing lanes and completely disrupting Utah’s offensive flow.

“I thought we imposed our will from the beginning of the game defensively,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said.

Utah coach Will Hardy agreed that Boston’s defense overwhelmed the Jazz from the start.

“I have to give the Celtics a lot of credit,” Hardy said. “I thought they came out great.”

Home Domination Continues

By beating the Jazz, Boston has now won 17 straight games at TD Garden to start the season, matching a franchise record from the 2008-09 season.

The Celtics’ home dominance has been a crucial piece to their championship aspirations. Going all the way back to last postseason, Boston has won a staggering 19 straight playoff and regular season games in front of their raucous home crowd.

With the win, the Celtics also moved to 23-3 at home in their last 26 games.

Regular Season Success

Season Home Games Home Record
2023-24 17 17-0
2022-23 41 31-10
2021-22 41 28-13

The strong home play provides an outstanding launching pad as Boston eyes the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics now sit at 26-7 overall on the season, just 1.5 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Bucks.

Heading into a five game West Coast road trip starting Sunday, closing out this home stand on a high note was critical.

“Big time win heading out West,” Brown said. “Great way to finish this home stretch.”

Looking Ahead

Remaining Schedule

With the most difficult portion of their schedule upcoming, maintaining focus and consistency will be key for Boston. 21 of their remaining 39 games come against teams over .500.

That stretch starts with Sunday’s matchup at Denver, followed by games at Oklahoma City, Golden State, the LA Lakers, and LA Clippers.

“We have to go out west ready to play against some great teams,” Tatum said. “It’s going to test us for sure.”

After returning from the West Coast swing, Boston plays 8 of their next 10 games at home as they look to keep pace atop the East standings.

Playoff Positioning

Despite their tremendous success so far, the Celtics have little margin for error in the race for the East’s #1 seed. Only 2.5 games separate the top-4 teams in the conference, so every game carries significant implications.

With defending champion Golden State awaiting as a potential NBA Finals matchup, claiming home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs is an absolute must. Friday’s rout of Utah keeps Boston well-positioned to achieve that goal.

So while the Celtics can enjoy flying high at 17-0 at home, greater challenges lie ahead. For now, they continue to prove themselves as a legitimate championship contender built to peak at just the right time.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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