Tuesday was one of the closest games the Celtics have played in a while.
And in the end, Boston emerged victorious.
The Celtics stretched their win streak to four games with a 116-115 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Boston now is 2-0 on its west coast swing.
Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 32 points. He had nine rebounds and five assists as well.
All of Boston’s starters scored double figures once again. Kemba Walker and Tristan Thompson contributed eight rebounds apiece. Walker and Smart each had seven assists.
The Celtics improved to 29-26 while the Blazers dipped to 31-23.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Robert Williams
A GAME OF RUNS
Momentum swung in both directions early.
Boston took a 14-11 lead less than four minutes into the game, with Williams scoring six of the Celtics’ points. But Portland put on the jets and went on a 12-0 run over the next three minutes.
The Celtics outscored the Blazers 9-2 in the next three minutes, but Portland managed to take back its lead and push it to eight by the end of the quarter.
Walker posted an impressive 12 points in the first 12 minutes on top of five rebounds and two assists. Williams (eight points, two rebounds, one assist) was a big help on offense while Thompson was a monster at the rim.
The Celtics had 10 assists on 10 field goals in the first. Boston shot at 43.5%. though Portland was more accurate at 56.5%.
Neither team was able to maintain a lead in the second quarter.
The Blazers held a slight advantage over the Celtics until midway through the frame. The teams traded leads, but Portland ultimately entered halftime up 60-57 thanks to a quick 9-0 run.
The Celtics hit 20 of 49 shots attempted (40.8%) in the first half to the Blazers’ 21-of-43 (48.8%). Boston was much more successful from 3-point range than it was Sunday against the Denver Nuggets, completing 8-of-18 attempts (44.4%).
Carmelo Anthony looked like his younger self in the second, banking 12 points in just eight minutes.
Meanwhile, Enes Kanter had four points, six rebounds and an assist in his first minutes against his former team.
The Blazers had a slight edge for most of the third but wound up trading leads with the Celtics yet again.
Boston’s resilience remained on full display as Portland tried to put things away. Tatum heated up in the final five minutes of the frame and wound up with 17 third-quarter points on 6-of-8 shooting.
The Celtics entered the fourth up 92-87 courtesy of a 10-2 run led by Tatum. All of Boston’s starters had scored double figures to this point.
It was not the Blazers’ accuracy that led them to lose their lead. Oddly enough, Boston’s five extra completed free throws pushed it over the pot.
The teams were relatively even shooting-wise through the first three quarters. Both hit 33 shots from the field, 11 of them beyond the arc and missed five free throws.
HOW ABOUT YOUR NAIL-BITTER
It was the Celtics’ game to lose, but they hung on.
Boston’s lead hovered around eight for much of the quarter, but Portland made it a one-point game with just under three minutes to play.
A big layup by Williams made it a 3-point game, but Damian Lillard hit an even bigger triple to tie it up at 109 with 2:03 left.
Portland went up one with 1:01 remaining on a C.J. McCollum three. But Tatum gave Boston the lead back and then some with two free throws and a three of his own late to make it a four-point game.
The parade of threes continued with Norman Powell’s shot with 5.4 second on the clock. This trimmed Boston’s lead to one, and that’s where it would remain.
The Celtics went on to win 116-115.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Siri, define “hustle.”
The next stop on the Celtics’ road trip is Los Angeles, where they will play the Lakers on Thursday. Tip-off is slated for 10 p.m. ET.