Keys to the Game: Celtics 117, Pelicans 109

Key Moment

NBC Sports Boston play-by-play man Sean Grande said over and over Friday night that the Celtics just kept counter-punching the New Orleans Pelicans. Boston landed its final counter midway through the fourth quarter when it squashed a Pelicans run and regained control of the contest.

What was once a 19-point lead dropped all the way down to six before the Celtics responded with five straight points in emphatic fashion. Those points came off the fingers of Grant Williams and Al Horford, but it required a team effort to score them in succession.

Williams’ triple from the left corner arrived after a beautiful drive-and-kick from Jayson Tatum, who notched a season-high 10 dimes on the night. Tatum drove left and passed his defender down the lane and sucked the defense in to leave Williams unguarded in the corner. Tatum kicked it out to Williams, who caught it and fired off the shot quickly before hitting nothing but nylon.

That shot felt like a deflator for New Orleans, but the C’s weren’t done. The Pelicans brought the ball down to the other end and Boston forced a miss with great team defense against a driving CJ McCollum, followed by a team effort on the glass. McCollum’s miss wound up in the hands of Horford, who immediately initiated a fast break for Boston.

Horford took a few dribbles up the middle of the floor before hitting Jaylen Brown, who was streaking down the court to his left. Brown attacked the paint and looked to his left to throw defender Brandon Ingram off-balance before dropping a pass back to Horford for a thunderous one-handed slam.

Horford stared into the crowd following that dunk while New Orleans immediately whistled for a timeout at the 5:32 mark after falling behind by 11 points. Boston’s lead never dropped below seven points the rest of the way before it closed out its ninth straight win with a 117-109 triumph.

Key Player

Jaylen Brown nearly notched his first triple-double of the season Friday night in New Orleans. He was outstanding across the board while leading the Celtics to their ninth straight win.

Brown logged game highs of 27 points and 10 rebounds while also dishing out seven assists to rank second in the game, behind only teammate Jayson Tatum. This performance marked his second double-double of the season. He also added in two steals.

The star wing, who is likely to be selected for his second All-Star game, scored his points in a very efficient manner. He shot 10-for-20 from the field, 3-for-6 from long distance, and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.

Pay no attention to the seven turnovers. They didn’t affect the result of this game. Those other stats, however, very much did.

Box Score Nuggets

  • All five of Boston’s starters scored between 12 and 27 points, led by 27 from Jaylen Brown.
  • Brown notched a double-double with 27 points and 10 boards, both of which were game-high totals.
  • Jayson Tatum notched his first points/assists double-double of the season with 19 points and a game-high 10 assists.
  • Boston made 14 3-pointers during the first half and finished with 20 on the night.
  • Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 25 points.
  • New Orleans’ Trey Murphy was the only starter who didn’t score in double figures. He went scoreless in 12 minutes of action.
  • Boston’s largest lead was 19 points, while New Orleans’ was just two points.
  • Derrick White scored 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting while starting in place of the injured Marcus Smart.
  • Al Horford scored 18 points and grabbed seven boards while shooting 7-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from long distance.

Quote of the Night

“We found a win tonight, but we don’t want it to cost us later, so that’s something that we’re looking at now.”

– Jaylen Brown on controlling the team’s turnovers in the future

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