The Celtics will head back to Boston on a high note.
The C’s wrapped up their three-game road trip with a 124-107 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night at Smoothie King Center.
Kyrie Irving led the way for Boston with 26 points to go along with 10 assists, while Al Horford and Jayson Tatum weren’t far behind with 20 points apiece. Marcus Morris (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Terry Rozier (14 points) also scored in double figures for the green.
Anthony Davis (27 points, 16 rebounds) and Nikola Mirotic (25 points) made things awfully tough for the Celtics, but the visitors managed to hang on for the win.
With the victory, the Celtics improve to 11-10, while the Pelicans fall to 10-11.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford
Jaylen Brown was inactive after taking a hard fall onto his tailbone in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Celtics were feeling it out of the gate, with their oldest player leading the way. Horford provided 12 points in the early going, helping Boston grab a 34-21 lead after the opening 12 minutes. The veteran big man was an efficient 5-of-7 from the field, including a 3-pointer.
It was a quarter of runs for the C’s. Boston ripped off a 10-0 run after New Orleans scored the first points of the game, bookended by an 8-1 run to close the quarter. The C’s also benefitted from the Pelicans’ sloppy play, scoring 11 points off turnovers. Davis still did his thing, though, posting six points and six rebounds in the first frame.
Boston took a 57-48 lead into the break, but its lead could have been a lot larger had it not been for Mirotic. The veteran forward was red-hot in the second quarter after a scoreless first, scoring 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including five buckets from beyond the arc.
The Celtics’ offense wasn’t as strong in the second quarter, but it was well-rounded. The visitors featured eight different scorers in the frame, led by Smart’s six, all of which coming from beyond the arc. The widespread distribution helped Boston extend its advantage to as great as 20 in the quarter, but the Pelicans’ sharpshooting kept the game within reach.
RUN FOR RUN
It appeared the Celtics were on the verge of putting the dagger through the Pelicans when they went on an 11-0 run stretching from the 7:25 to 4:58 mark, swelling their lead back to 20. But New Orleans wouldn’t say die, going on an 11-2 run of its own to close the frame, trimming Boston’s lead to 89-79 heading into the fourth.
After being limited to eight points in the first two quarters, Irving matched his first-half total in the third, boosting his mark for the game to 16. Morris shined with eight of his own. It was crazy eights for the Pelicans in the third as well, with Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle each matching Irving and Morris.
Tatum (seven third-quarter points) had the loudest play the quarter, though.
The Pelicans made things real interesting, but the Celtics weren’t going to let this one slip away. Despite Davis keeping his team in the mix with 14 fourth-quarter points, Boston kept its foot on the gas en route to victory. Irving played the role of closer with nine points in the frame, while Horford added six courtesy of a pair of 3-pointers. Boston closed the game on a 17-7 run.
The Celtics return home for a Friday night date with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
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