Celtics and Nets takeaways: Jayson Tatum makes history as C’s go undefeated originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics remain the only undefeated team in the NBA.
The Brooklyn Nets put up a good fight Saturday night at Barclays Center, but couldn’t keep up with the powerful Celtics, who earned a 124-114 win to improve to 5-0.
Boston’s starters again led the way with a total of 103 points. Jayson Tatum led the group with 32 points, but got plenty of help from Jaylen Brown (23), Kristaps Porzingis (22), Jrue Holiday (18) and Al Horford (eight). The Celtics starters have scored 99.8 points per game this season, which is 6.2 points more than the next team’s starting five.
The Celtics’ road trip continues on Monday against the Timberwolves in Minnesota. But before we take a look at this matchup, here are three takeaways from Celtics-Nets.
Another red hot start
Many teams need a few minutes or even a whole quarter to get into the game and find a rhythm. Not the Celtics – they fire right from the opening tip.
The Celtics scored 34 points in the first quarter and 36 in the second quarter. Tatum’s 3-pointer at the buzzer capped a 12-4 run and gave his team a 70-58 halftime lead. He had a game-high 21 points in the first half.
The Celtics have now scored over 70 points in the first half in three consecutive games.
The C’s are average 66.6 points per game in the first half, who leads the league. They allowed just 246 first-half points in five games, a league-best plus-69 points. Boston also ranks No. 2 in first-half field goal percentage (51.8) and No. 3 in first-half 3-point percentage (43.5).
Slow starts plagued the Celtics at times last season, but they had no such problems in the 2023-24 season. This team starts games with the right concentration and level of execution. Head coach Joe Mazzulla and his staff deserve a lot of credit for having the players ready to play every night.
Jayson Tatum makes history with his breakout goal
Tatum’s hot start to the season continued offensively on Saturday as he posted a game-high 32 on 10-for-20 shooting (6-for-10 from 3-point range).
The Celtics forward needed 16 points to reach 10,000 career points, and he got it with a big-and-1 layup in the second quarter.
Tatum became the 10th youngest NBA player and youngest Celtic ever to score 10,000 points. He is also the only player 25 years old or younger to record 10,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,000 3-pointers.
One key area where Tatum has improved compared to last season is rebounding. Against the Nets, he managed 11 rebounds and averaged 9.5 rebounds per game in five games.
Luke Kornet gives the Celtics good minutes off the bench
The Celtics need a big man to come off the bench and provide rebounds, good defense and some points. Luke Kornet played that role quite well on Saturday night.
He scored a season-high 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting with seven rebounds and a steal in 15 minutes. Kornet spent most of his playing time in the second half, and he was effective on both ends of the pitch.
The veteran center’s positive contributions allowed the Celtics to play Porzingis and Horford for 30 minutes each. Keeping these two centers’ minutes low will keep them healthy and fresh in the playoffs, which is what makes performances like Kornet’s on Saturday so valuable.