Fans seeing their first Boston Celtics game at TD Garden in 386 days did not get to see a win.
The Celtics dropped their Monday night game against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109.
Boston kept it close for the first half, but began to fall apart in the third and was unable to come back in the fourth.
Jayson Tatum (34), Kemba Walker (23), Marcus Smart (15), Payton Pritchard (11) and Luke Kornet (10) all had double-figure points for Boston. But Williamson’s 28 points coupled with Brandon Ingram’s 25 proved to be too much for the Celtics.
With the loss, the Celtics dipped back below .500, 23-34, while the Pelicans improved to 21-25.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Grant Williams
C: Robert Williams
TATUM STAYS HOT
The opening minutes of the first were close with Tatum hitting a pair of triples and Robert Williams, as he did in Friday’s win, providing both offense and defense for the Celtics.
Tatum had 11 of Boston’s 13 points in the first four minutes of the game to help keep the Celtics take a 13-12 lead.
A Walker trey extended the lead to four, but New Orleans stayed in it and kept it close before Boston pulled out to a six-point lead with just over five minutes to go in the opening quarter.
But a 14-2 run by the Pelicans put the visiting team up 32-27 after one.
Tatum led all scorers with 16 points.
PELICANS CAN’T MISS FROM DEEP
New Orleans extended its lead to as much as nine in the opening minutes of the second, but a quick 5-0 Boston run capped by Pritchard’s second one from deep got the C’s within four and forced the Pelicans to call a timeout.
The Pelicans just couldn’t seem to miss, though, and went back up by seven, but a 3-pointer from Kornet made it a two-point game.
But each time the Celtics made it a one-possession game, New Orleans found a way to make its lead bigger with Kira Lewis Jr. and Josh Hart seemingly sinking everything they shot.
The Celtics continued to fight back and kept the game close throughout the quarter, but Brad Stevens called a timeout with 3:53 left in the half to help the team group.
It didn’t seem to work, though, as the Pelicans took a 64-55 lead into the break.
Tatum, once again, led the way with 18 points. Hart led New Orleans with 15, while the Pelicans shot 61.1% from downtown.
Boston made it a one-possession game in the first two minutes of the third, and took back the lead briefly before New Orleans tied things up at 70-70.
Some back-and-forth action continued before New Orleans went up by six.
Smart, thinking the Celtics’ shot clock was at 0.3 seconds (it was actually the Pelicans’ shot clock), decided to chuck the ball from half court, essentially wasting a possession and helping the Pelicans’ lead get back up to nine.
It wasn’t the best quarter for Smart, who bricked a 3-point shot and gave up a dunk, too.
Pritchard played some nice defense to stop, but the Pels were able to get a final bucket before the third ended 88-81.
Tatum, despite cooling down since the first quarter, led Boston with 20 points at the end of three.
PELICANS NEARLY BLOW IT
Boston appeared to run out of gas and couldn’t score consistently. A bunch of missed layups and some costly fouls allowed New Orleans to go up 100-84 with just over minutes left.
Pritchard sank a 3-pointer to try to get something going, but the Pelicans were too much and took a 17-point lead at one point.
The Celtics tried to come back, and made an 8-0 run in the final two minutes to make it a bit interesting.
Tatum hit a clutch 3-point shot to make it a three-point game.
But in the end, the Celtics just couldn’t get it done.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Kornet certainly made Celtics fans happy Monday night.
The Celtics are back in action Wednesday when they welcome the Dallas Mavericks to Boston. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.