The Celtics played a shorthanded Grizzlies team Wednesday night, and Memphis paid the price.
Jaylen Brown recorded a career-high 42 points in Boston’s 126-107 victory at TD Garden. He wasn’t the only Celtics player to take advantage of Ja Morant’s absence, however.
Jayson Tatum (16), Marcus Smart (14) and Daniel Theis (12) also scored double figures. Payton Pritchard (eight points, two rebounds, three assists) and Robert Williams (six points, 10 rebounds, two assists) put together solid performances, as well.
The C’s moved to 3-2, while the Grizzlies fell to 1-3.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jeff Teague
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
A SOLID START
After looking sluggish on the first couple of plays, Boston went on a 12-0 run in just two short minutes led by Brown and Teague, who combined for nine points.
Theis briefly left the game after appearing to injure his right thumb while attempting a shot early in the quarter. He returned a few minutes later with his thumb taped up.
Boston’s offense wasted no time heating up. The C’s opened up a 12-point lead late in the first thanks to a feisty Theis and two massive threes from Smart.
The Grizzlies struggled to find their rhythm, sinking just one of eight shots from beyond the arc and committing eight turnovers in just 12 minutes.
Boston finished the quarter up 31-19. The team shot 52.2% from the field to start.
The Celtics’ dominance continued thanks to some more stellar stuff on offense.
Tatum and Brown were on fire in the second, combining for a whopping 27 points in the quarter. The duo went 9-for-12 from three and collected 40 points between them in the first half.
That’s when Pritchard got in on the action and showed off his dynamic abilities in the paint.
Boston’s defense looked solid as well with 11 steals, two blocks and 13 forced turnovers in the half.
The Grizzlies suffered another blow midway through the quarter when Grayson Allen left the game with a left ankle sprain. He did not return.
The C’s built a 30-point advantage thanks to a 17-0 run late in the quarter. Memphis got a couple of points back but, still finished down 26 at halftime.
Not a single Grizzlies player scored more than nine points in the first half. They sank just 16 of 43 shots attempted and went just 2-for-20 beyond the arc.
THE JAYLEN BROWN SHOW
It was more of the same in the third.
Boston hovered around a 30-point lead for much of the quarter. And once again, Brown led the charge.
The 24-year-old had himself a 16-point quarter to bring his total for the night up to 42, passing his career-high 34 points set Dec. 27, 2019, per Celtics Stats.
Try as they might, the Grizzlies simply couldn’t find a crack in the Celtics’ lead. Memphis racked up another six turnovers while Boston picked up another four steals and four blocks.
The C’s entered the final frame up 96-71, giving the Grizzlies just 12 minutes to make up 25 points.
BRING IN THE YOUNGSTERS
Boston stayed in control throughout the fourth and maintained a 20-plus-point lead on Memphis — even after head coach Brad Stevens brought in the youngsters to finish things up.
Carsen Edwards had some good looks, ending the game with nine points, four rebounds and two assists.
Fans even got a little Tacko Fall time. The big man collected two points on free throws and a rebound.
The C’s finished just as strong as they started (minus those first couple seconds, that is), topping the Grizzlies 126-107.
PLAY OF THE GAME
One? Here’s a few.
The Celtics will have a day to rest before kicking off back-to-back games against the Pistons in Detroit on Friday and Sunday. Tip-off for Game 1 of the set is slated for 7 p.m. ET on New Years Day.